The water bottle threat

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For some time now huge companies have been bottling groundwater and selling it for huge profits. Companies like Nestlé pay very little for this public resource.

Many people believe water is becoming the new gold and that future wars will be fought over it. We see wars now all over the world fought to control resources such as oil. As potable water becomes scarcer, the demand becomes an opportunity to make lots of money.

Some estimates declare that global water shortages will become acute in a decade and will only get worse from there. It makes no sense that huge water companies are taking water from the land and making incredible profits while many First Nations across Canada don’t have decent drinking water. How can it be that this situation exists in Canada, which is supposed to be a developed country? Too many First Nations don’t have access to clean water.

We are fortunate to have so much fresh water in Canada. Though nearly 70% of our planet is covered by water, only 2.5% of it is fresh water. Three quarters of that is trapped as groundwater, glacial ice or permanent snow. That leaves less than 1% of the water on the planet accessible for us to use. Brazil, Russia, the US and Canada are the top countries when it comes to fresh water resources.

Bottled-water companies contribute so much plastic waste that is detrimental to our environment. You would think our federal and provincial governments would take issue with this but obviously they have not.

In Ontario, it is estimated that a billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills every year. This plastic waste takes hundreds of years to break down and poses threats to all kind of animal, bird and fish life. We see huge islands of plastic floating around the oceans while beaches and coastal areas are routinely blanketed in plastic garbage swept up from the sea during storms.

The worldwide bottled-water industry is worth about $200 billion. This is a powerful group of companies and they lobby governments all over the world to get their way. Some of these companies include Nestlé, Dasani and Aquafina. There are so many operating here in Canada, I don’t have room to list them all. This is in stark contrast to so many of our First Nations who have very poor access to clean drinking water.

Recently, Six Nations of the Grand River Chief Ava Hill and her council voiced opposition to the bottled-water extraction by Nestlé in its territory. The community is outraged that the company is allowed to extract millions of litres of water a day while many Six Nations residents don’t have are access to clean drinking water in their homes. I commend Chief Hill and her council for having the strength and foresight to make a stand on this important issue.

Like many people, I often reach for bottled water over tap, but that is a mistake. Bottled water is not put under the same stringent demands made on tap water and in most cases it is not any better for you. The exception, of course, is in many First Nations communities, where clean running water is unavailable.

One solution is to purchase a water filtration kit to install in your home. This ensures you will have quality water. I am going to do my best to choose tap water over bottled water for the simple reason that it makes good sense.

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