Bottled water harmful to the environment

Steph Holsinger, Assistant News Editor
April 6, 2012

The Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science Club presented a documentary that explained the negative effects of drinking bottled water in the ATS Auditorium Wednesday evening.

The documentary, which was titled “Tapped,” explored different aspects about bottled water, such as the production, its effects on the environment, and negative health effects that may result from consumption.

According to the documentary, the three largest bottled water companies, Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle, sell their product for a price that adds up to 1,900 times of the cost that it takes to tap the water.

Much of the water that is tapped to be bottled comes from public water sources, not a fresh spring, like many companies claim. Aquafina, which is manufactured by Pepsi, is the only brand that is known to list that it comes from “public water sources,” also known as a tap, on their label.

According to the documentary, 40 percent of all bottled water is actually just filtered tap water. Nestle, which is one of the largest manufacturers of bottled water nationwide, made more than $3 billion in 2008, just from sales alone.

Poland Spring, which is one of Nestle’s brand names, taps its water from fresh water sources in Fryeburg, Maine, which leaves many residents in the small town outraged. Many people that live in the town feel that they are taking the water for free, and selling it for a much larger profit. In the past few years, Nestle has had many lawsuits with communities in states such as Maine, California and Michigan, for the overuse of their fresh water sources to manufacture bottled water.

Dr. Patrick explained the negative effects of bottled water on the environment, as well as the water shortage that our planet is facing.

“Water companies are continuing to tap water during droughts,” he said. “About 40,000 children a day worldwide die from the inability to access fresh water.”

Another issue that the documentary addressed was how safe the bottles containing the water actually are.

According to “Tapped,” the majority of bottles are made from a plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). The plastic, which is created from an oil base, uses over 700 gallons of oil per year for water bottles alone.

According to scientists in the documentary, the plastic has been known to transfer various toxins into the water, which can have harmful effects on human health, such as reproductive dysfunction and cancer.

Nicholas Kunkel, who is the president of the Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science Club, organized the event and wants to spread the word about bottled water as much as possible.

“I personally think it’s the dumbest product ever manufactured,” he said. “If I could get everyone to stop drinking bottled water, I would. That’s what I’m ultimately trying to do.”

Kunkel said that Dr. Burkhart’s lectures were what caused him to stop drinking bottled water.

“Last time I drank bottled water, it was about three years ago,” he said. “Listening to Dr. Burkhart talk about the negative effects and cost were what really caused me to stop.”

“I think if enough people like me spread the word like I did tonight, I think that corporations will eventually have to start listening to people if they stop buying it.”Burkhart, who is a professor in the department of Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science, spoke at the event. Burkhart, who specializes in water conservation, presented a mini-lecture, which

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