There is tons of information circulating the internet about the plastic pollution, specifically, disposable single-use plastics. It should come as no surprise that one of the most pressing environmental issues we face is plastic pollution. In 2016, we consumed 400 billion plastic bottled waters around the globe, equivalent to 1 million plastic bottled waters per minute, or 20,000 bottles per second. Only less than 9% of all plastic produced gets recycled while other end up in the oceans and other water bodies. In the US alone, we go through 50 billion plastic bottles per year or 100 million plastic bottled water per day. It can take over 400 years for plastic bottled waters to biodegrade.
HOW MUCH PLASTIC IS IN THE OCEAN?
It is estimated that there are 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans. Each year eight million tons of plastic gets dumped into our oceans, the equivalent of filling five grocery bags worth of plastic waste for each foot of coastline around the world. If you are not aware there is initiative called The Ocean Cleanup – founded by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat – launched a massive plastic cleaning device made of sections of floating plastic pipes and nets that will trap debris floating near the surface.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT OF PLASTIC BOTTLED WATER ON HUMAN HEALTH?
Our health is fundamentally linked to the oceans. Over 70% of the oxygen produced in the atmosphere is produced from marine plants. Most of the food we source and consume from our oceans have all ingested plastic in one form or another.
HOW BIG IS THE BOTTLED WATER INDUSTRY?
By 2020, the global bottled water market is expected to reach $280 billion, which means we’ll be spending close to twice the amount of money on bottled water than we currently spend on green energy. In the United States, bottled waters are the largest beverage category, surpassing soda in the amount sold each year. Nestlé currently leads the bottled water industry, with over 100 bottled water manufacturing plants across 34 countries worldwide. In fact, Nestlé currently pays the US Forest Service for rights to source roughly 30 million gallons of water per year from California, even during droughts, which means this water is being allocated to bottled water that are shipped worldwide before being allocated to local citizens.
Producing plastic bottled water also exhausts water resources, taking over three times as much water to produce a bottle of water than the contents of the container itself. It’s an incredible waste of our clean water supply, especially considering we are on the brink – if not already – of a global water shortage, which means that every drop of water used in producing plastic bottled water is being pulled from local streams and rivers that could supply local communities. The UN estimates that 1.8 billion people will live in areas with critical water shortage by 2025.
In rural communities, women and children are often walking miles every day to collect water for their families, usually from streams and ponds that are full of pollutants. This limits the time they have to work, earn an income or receive an education, contributing to a cycle of poverty and illness. Those who cannot afford to feed their children or provide healthcare, cannot afford the high costs of bottled water.
WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT PLASTIC POLLUTION?
San Francisco has put itself on the map by becoming the first American city to ban the sale of plastic bottled water. They’re backed by the Corporate Accountability’s Think Outside the Bottle campaign which has been encouraging the use of free sources of water. Unfortunately, moving away from plastic bottled water has been an ongoing struggle, taking two steps back, one step forward. For example, over the past six years, many national parks have banned plastic bottled water sales in an attempt to reduce pollution.
With that in mind, here’s what you can do to reduce consumption of single use plastic bottled water starting today. For water on the go, purchase a BPA-free DawnBottles for yourself and each member of your family. These can be reused and they are non-porous and non-leaching, ensuring that one purchase saves years of waste.
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