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Report: 64% of Bottled Water Is Tap Water, Costs 2000x More
By Julia Conley
Bottled water companies have relied on predatory marketing practices and exorbitant lobbying efforts to sell Americans on the inaccurate belief that pre-packaged water is cleaner and safer than tap water—a notion that is costing U.S. households about $16 billion per year.
In a new report entitled "Take Back the Tap," Food & Water Watch explains that 64 percent of bottled water comes from municipal tap water sources—meaning that Americans are often unknowingly paying for water that would otherwise be free or nearly free.
A gallon of bottled water costs about $9.50—nearly 2,000 times the price of tap water for municipal taxpayers.
"When bottlers are not selling municipal water, they are pumping and selling common water resources that belong to the public, harming the environment, and depleting community water supplies," reads the study.
The bottled water industry has an enormous environmental footprint, using about four billion pounds of plastic for packaging in 2016—which required an energy input equal to at least 45 million barrels of oil.
Nestlé also depleted California's scarce water supplies during its recent historic drought, using up water that could have been used by nearly 2,200 households per year.
Though bottled water companies and lobbying groups for the industry like the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) promote their products as healthier than tap water, the study finds that attempts by Americans to avoid pollutants by relying on bottled water are also misguided:
Most people also do not realize that the drinking water that they can get from their tap for a fraction of the price of bottled water actually comes with more safeguards than bottled water, since the federal government requires more rigorous safety monitoring of municipal tap water than it does of bottled water.
Bottled water companies including Nestlé and Coca-Cola have succeeded in selling their products through predatory marketing tactics.
The industry frequently targets low-income groups, people of color, and immigrant communities—people who may have lacked or still lack access to safe water—for their marketing campaigns. In 2014, Nestlé spent upwards of $5 billion advertising its Pure Life brand, with $3.8 billion going to Spanish-language TV ads.
The IBWA and bottled water companies have worked tirelessly to make sure their products can easily reach consumers. The National Park Service banned bottled water in the nation's parks in 2011, successfully preventing about two million plastic bottles from entering the waste stream per year until the Trump administration reversed the ban in 2017—after years of increased lobbying expenditures by the industry.
The report urges the passage of the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability (WATER) Act, which would dedicate federal funds to renovate the nation's public water infrastructure to ensure renewed public confidence in tap water, and avert a water affordability crisis.
"The WATER Act will simultaneously deliver water justice to the millions of people in the United States who lack access to safe water, while creating nearly a million jobs," according to the report.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
Note: Following the publication of this post, the International Bottled Water Association informed EcoWatch that they released a statement addressing Food & Water Watch's report.
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Tuna auctions are a tourist spectacle in Tokyo. Outside the city's most famous fish market, long queues of visitors hoping for a glimpse of the action begin to form at 5 a.m. The attraction is so popular that last October the Tsukiji fish market, in operation since 1935, moved out from the city center to the district of Toyosu to cope with the crowds.
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Kristan Porter grew up in a fishing family in the fishing community of Cutler, Maine, where he says all roads lead to one career path: fishing. (Porter's father was the family's lone exception. He suffered from terrible seasickness, and so became a carpenter.) The 49-year-old, who has been working on boats since he was a kid and fishing on his own since 1991, says that the recent warming of Maine's cool coastal waters has yielded unprecedented lobster landings.
The climate crisis is getting costly. Some of the world's largest companies expect to take over one trillion in losses due to climate change. Insurers are increasingly jittery and the world's largest firm has warned that the cost of premiums may soon be unaffordable for most people. Historic flooding has wiped out farmers in the Midwest.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
'We Should Be Retreating Already From the Coastline,' Scientist Suggests After Finding Warm Waters Below Greenland
By Johnny Wood
The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.
The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.
Here are some of the challenges the river faces.
By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.