Good afternoon, my little red tomatoes~
It seems that no matter how we try to do things that are good for us, there is always that 'other' side. Take water, for instance. We know our kidneys, brains and other organs don't do well when we are not properly hydrated., it's not fattening and it even seems to make us look and feel younger.
Some of us have decided to drink it anywhere and everywhere to the delight of plastics manufacturers and their crude oil suppliers. Plastic bottles are certainly convenient and if you refill that Evian bottle over and over and over again, you can look trendy on the cheap.
Unfortunately, 10 millions barrels of crude oil are used each year to make plastic water bottles. Here are some statistics about consumption according to the Earth Policy Institute:
The global consumption of bottled water reached 154 billion liters (41 billion gallons) in 2004, up 57 percent from the 98 billion liters consumed five years earlier. Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing—producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy. Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more. At as much as $2.50 per liter ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline.
The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water, with Americans drinking 26 billion liters in 2004, or approximately one 8-ounce glass per person every day. Mexico has the second highest consumption, at 18 billion liters. China and Brazil follow, at close to 12 billion liters each. Ranking fifth and sixth in consumption are Italy and Germany, using just over 10 billion liters of bottled water each. (See data.)
Italians drink the most bottled water per person, at nearly 184 liters in 2004—more than two glasses a day. Mexico and the United Arab Emirates consume 169 and 164 liters per person. Belgium and France follow close behind, with per capita consumption near 145 liters annually. Spain ranks sixth, at 137 liters each year.
Now when we were in Southern Spain last summer it was hot as blazes there, so I can understand the 137 liters per capita per year. When I lived in Mexico City I also drank a whole lot of bottled water, but that was because one felt there were certain standards with the bottled water and the municipal supply wasn't always dependably delivered.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates all public water supplies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of regulating and overseeing bottled water, but their standards are much more lax. It is estimated that 40% of bottled water starts at the tap anyway.
Scientists estimate that tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere merely in the transportation of bottled water to its many destinations. Add in the manufacturing by-products that contribute to the pollution of the environment, overflowing landfills, and you're making global warming happen even faster.
So what about re-using your plastic water bottle? That sounds like a pretty good idea at first, but like all things left at room temperature, eventually bacteria will begin to flourish and your water bottle is no different. Washing it out with soap and water and then refilling it is probably the best idea, and once it is open? Drink it or refrigerate it, just like you would with any other foodstuff.
There are also all the claims of 'chemicals' leaching into your body from the plastic. There are also rumors that dioxins will be released if you heat or freeze your water bottle. Well, my darlings, there are no dioxins in plastic. Bisphenol A (BPA) is another story altogether. Thirty-eight scientific experts on BPA recently called for additional study on the subject as an American company, The Environment California Research & Policy Center, recently announced their analysis of 130 studies that claimed even at low doses, BPA does cause 'adverse health effects'. Low does of the BPA have been connected with chromosonal disruption, miscarriages, birth defects and even obesity.
Then again, 'fresh' water isn't doing much better. Here is a piece from the Environment California website:
* The State of California lists more than 500 lakes, rivers, bays and other water bodies as seriously polluted;
* Studies conducted by the University of California detected 57 toxic pesticides in tributaries to the San Joaquin River, a source of drinking water to 16 million Californians. Perchlorate – the major ingredient in rocket fuel – also pollutes more than 400 drinking water sources across the state;
* A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that exposure to polluted waters off the coast of Orange County is linked to 74,000 incidents of stomach illness, respiratory disease and eye, ear and skin infections each year.
* In 2002, low volumes of water released through dams on the Klamath River for agricultural irrigation purposes caused one of the most massive fish kills - tens of thousands of fish – in the state’s history.
When you look at how polluted water is becoming, even in our beautiful United States, that tap water sounds pretty delicious, doesn't it? I'm not sure carrying around your glass water container works quite as well, but I'm sure somebody will think of a solution. It can't be as simple as plastic and proper hygiene, can it?
A friend sent the suggestion that we use a regular coffee thermos. I think that's pure genius.
Clark County Diva
Labels: and clean water, global warming