Water and Plastic Bottle Burden Research Paper

Pages: 5 (1800 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Water and Plastic Bottle Burden

Where to Turn for Safe Water

The first time sustainability was defined by a global institution was in 1987, when the Brundtland Commission, with a grant through the United Nations, outlined what was meant by the term. The principle of sustainability, according to the commission, implies meeting the needs of present without compromising future generations from meeting their needs. There are myriad facets related to the issue of what a sustainable society is, with the debate often weighed down by partisan rhetoric. There are, to be sure, many practical and convenient ways in which human society can reorient itself towards a better and healthier lifestyle, more in line with global perceptions of sustainability. This does necessarily mean abandoning technology, as many people feel. By taking better care of ourselves, and acknowledging how to do so, we can learn more about the Earth's needs. (Lichtfouse)

Few people are responsible for their own food. This has led to a divorce from nature by man. In order for people to truly understand what sustainability is, they need to become more in touch with their food, getting to know the ways in which it is produced. Also, by understanding how we pollute our air, water, and other natural resources, we can all begin to make an impact. Sustainability depends on balancing our social, environmental, and economic values in a philosophy altruistic and tested, more in line with the demands of Mother Nature.

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The importance of water cannot be understated. That is one great outcome of the recent turn by a great many people to travel-friendly water bottles. Many common diseases, for which there are a number of names like arthritis, hypertension, are really just symptoms created by the body's drought management system. When the human body becomes dehydrated, it invokes a drought management system as a way of conserving water. Some of the symptoms resulting from this drought management exertion are given disease names by practitioners of conventional medicine, and then treated with prescription drugs.

Research Paper on Water and Plastic Bottle Burden Where to Assignment

The brain must always be hydrated. So, when the body lacks water, it must regulate itself in such a way so as to supply adequate water to the brain. This entails limiting the loss of water in other areas of the body. Even breathing causes the loss of a significant quantity of water daily, depending on the climate in which one lives and your level of exercise. If one suffers from chronic dehydration from not drinking enough water, or from drinking water-depleting drinks such as coffee, alcohol or beverages with sugar, your body attempts to prevent respiratory water loss by producing histamines which close off the capillaries in your lungs. The constriction of these capillaries results in the reduction of water, but makes breathing much more difficult. The body is producing histamines as a means of coping, not as a disease. Your body closes the capillaries in your lungs for the brain's sake. In order to be healthier, we need drink more water, and, also, stay away from beverages that deplete our water supplies. Most beverages consumed in the United States do not offer hydration; for example, drinking soft drinks results in a loss of water in your body, not a gain in water. (Adams)

The consumption of bottled water has greatly increased over the past ten to fifteen years. The growth has been global, taking place mostly in Europe and in the United States. Water bottles practically dominate the water market. According to a 2001 World Wildlife Fund survey, approximately 89 billion liters of bottle water are annually consumed across the globe, a value of roughly $22 million. In the U.S. alone, about 13 billion liters of bottle water gets consumed each year. Western Europe is the foremost consumer of bottled water, consuming upwards of 50% thereof. Some argue this is due to a history of polluted water in Europe, due to agricultural and industrial practices..

Moreover, the rise in bottled water consumption took place in diverse nations during the same period. The graph below explores the increase in consumption from 1999-2001 in eight different nations. (Klessig)

There are relatively few regulations on the ingredients in bottled water. Many studies have uncovered contaminants and harmful substances in numerous bottled water brands. A Natural Resources Defense Council study found that more than a third of the tested brands contain contaminants such as arsenic and carcinogenic compounds. The study encompassed 103 different brands and 1,000 bottles and found that one-third of the water in these bottles failed to meet state or industry safety standards.

An old study by Ohio State University, contrarily, discovered that 39 out of 57 water samples contained "purer" water than did tap water. 15 samples, however, showed significantly high bacteria samples. The scientists did conclude that all the water was safe for consumption. Most consumers choose bottled water for its taste, while many drink it for perceived health benefits. The World Health Organization are neutral regarding health benefits or hazards of bottled water. The institutions website acknowledges that many European consumers believe natural mineral waters have medicinal or healthy properties, but claims it has yet to find convincing evidence in support of this.

David Ozonoff, of the Environmental Health Department at Boston University, maintains that the bottled water vs. tap water debate consists of ideology. "I think the problem today is that turning on your tap is an act of faith, and I'm not sure that that act of faith is particularly well-placed." Per the aforementioned, many people believe bottled water is a healthy alternative to drinking plain tap water. Americans drink approximately eight million gallons of bottled water annually. Bottled water, to be sure, is scant a good choice for the health of the earth. It takes three to fives times more water to manufacture the plastic water bottle than the amount of water in the bottle. The bottle ought to be used only once so that phthalates in the bottle do not contaminate the water. As a petroleum product, the use of plastic depletes this non-renewable resource. The Pacific Institute calculates that, in the manufacturing of plastic water bottles, the United States consumes roughly 17 million barrels of oil every year.


Furthermore, it is estimated that, in 2005, a mere 12% of plastic water bottles were recycled, partially because water bottles are often not included in local recycling plans. Another reason is bottled water consumption most often takes place away from home and is disposed of in mixed-trash containers. In 2002, Scenic Hudson reported that 18% of recovered litter from the Hudson River was beverage containers, while in landfills water bottles biodegrade over approximately 1,000 years. The incineration of water bottles produces toxic byproducts, such as chlorine gas and ash that contains heavy metals. According to a 1999 study by the National Resources Defense Council, 25% of bottled water bottled domestically is reprocessed municipal water. The use of plastic bottles containing Bisphenol is detrimental to human health, since Bisphenol behaves similarly to estrogen. As an cumulative toxin, Bisphenol is linked to obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, and hyperactivity. There are alternatives to plastic bottles, like stainless steel, glass, and aluminum water bottles. (Hartley)

For more than sixty years, fluoride has been used to help prevent tooth decay. Over 60% of people in the U.S. receive fluoride in their drinking water. Some public water supplies contain naturally occurring fluoride in it and some have fluoride added at a water treatment facility. The first major study, conducted by Phyllis Mullenix in 1995, demonstrated varying levels of neurotoxicity on the mice used. The mice drinking fluoridated water failed at tasks similar to those expected of control mice. The control mice completed tasks more efficiently. Through these experiments, it was discovered that fluoride, in fact, crossed the blood-brain barrier. Eighteen subsequent studies on fluoride and the brain have shown lower I.Q. levels in children with elevated fluoride levels. In these tests, parental education levels, lead levels, iodine exposures and family income were all taken into consideration. Research has demonstrated elevated rates of cancer in cities with fluoridated water, cancerous changes in liver cells, and unscheduled DNA synthesis. Flourosis results after over-consumption of fluoride. Drinking water remains the most significant source of fluoride, although there are levels of the toxin in food, air and toothpaste. (Walters)

Social marketing campaigns by many corporations' abetted the recent increase in bottled water consumption. Such campaigns highlighted the consumers need to drink "healthy" bottled water rather from the unhealthy tap. Transnational Corporations rake in billions of dollars through this market. In areas with few or no regulations, companies are able to maintain high-capacity water withdrawal wells. In 2001, revenues from the bottled water industry, in just the United States, rose by 13%, while the global bottled water industry raked in more than $35 billion. In 2002, Americans forked over $7.7 billion for bottled water. (Klessig)

It is important for people to drink healthy water. Healthy people can than be the stewards of a healthy planet. First and foremost,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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