Thursday, July 19, 2007

Not so fast, Ms Spaulding

While visiting a friend recently, I read about the proposed bottling operation in East Montpelier [“Montpelier Environmentalists Question Water-Bottling Scheme,” June 6]. Where I live, in Michigan, we’ve been dealing with the negative impacts of water mining since Nestle started pumping several years ago. The water should be maintained for the benefit of all — we are a Public Trust state — but instead the pumping has lowered lake levels and turned a nearby stream into mud flats. Citing the negative environmental impacts to the surrounding, interconnected water system, citizens brought and won a suit against Nestle. The judge ruled that the company would have to stop pumping within 30 days of the ruling. Sadly, it’s been appealed and every day hundreds of thousands of gallons are stolen. Citizen movement to defend groundwater has coalesced around the belief that we can’t tolerate this de facto privatization of the commons.

Single-serving boutique water puts convenience ahead of good stewardship and isn’t the answer to our water needs. Public water is a service maintained and kept affordable for everyone — not just those who can afford to spend two dollars per bottle. The bottling industry preys on our gullibility; the result is windfall profits. It’s not as rigorously tested as publicly owned tap water, and is as much as 1000 times more expensive per serving. Let’s drink from the tap. The bottles can’t be recycled and require up to 1000 years to biodegrade. Is it worth it? Vermont, stand up for the water.
Holly Wren Spaulding
Spaulding is a founding member of Sweetwater Alliance, a Michigan-based citizen organization dedicated to water issues.

Every brand has its market and acquiring local "brands" are key to Nestlé Waters' global growth strategy. Nestlé own Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Ozarka, to name a few bottled waters sold in the USA. In effect, that local water you drink is profit for a company based in Vervey, Switzerland. (It's no accident that Nestlé have a monopoly in infant formula, too, but that's the topic of another post.)

I've written about water as a public resource here. 70% of those chic plastic water containers are tossed in dumps and landfills - not good stewardship.

But.... not so fast, Ms Spaulding, in your praise of tap water -

There's dangerous levels of fluoride in it. A National Assessment of Tap Water Quality shows 260 detected contaminants (141 unregulated) in the public water supply serving millions per day.

Check out the TWQD Vermont Report.

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