The environmental cost of bottled water

Due to an increasing rise of pollution around the world, 1.2 billion people don’t have access to clean water. Arguably, they are in need of fresh, bottled water. Yet the target audience of bottled water is not these deprived countries so much, but more the rich, convenience-orientated population of the developed world. Multinational corporations purchase groundwater rights in less built-up countries, devouring necessary water supplies for the local population, and then sell this water to developed countries for up to 2000x the price of their perfectly clean tap water.

On top of the injustice to impoverished humans, there’s the devastating effect on our wildlife. If only 1/8 of the billions of water bottles consumed each year are recycled what happens to the rest? Plastic doesn’t degrade for hundreds – maybe thousands – of years, so it just keeps filling up our landfill sites, our open spaces and our oceans. Animals from albatrosses to sperm whales are constantly being found dead with their stomachs and intestines full of plastic bottles and bottle caps. In a warm ocean, small bits of plastic can degrade in as little as a year, releasing toxic chemicals into the water that are then digested by all manner of sea creatures. All the evidence points to the toxic, unnatural qualities of plastic and yet we’re still buying plastic water bottles at a rate of 200 billion a year globally.

We could reduce the threat to our planet’s wildlife, eliminate the exploitation of underdeveloped countries and save our planet’s highly valuable resources if we were to avoid buying bottled water altogether. Think before you leave the house every day. Buy a reusable bottle and fill it up at the tap, and recycle plastic wherever possible. The plastic bottle trade is a highly dangerous, highly unnecessary industry.

See infographic here