In the developing world, Carmichael said, water is being sold as a commodity where the resource is scarce. On the rationale that bottling water takes water resources away from the poor, the environmental issue has become an important one for people of faith, Carmichael said. "The moral call for us is not to privatize water. Water should be free for all."Then Ed Gilbreath's blog mentioned that
. . . The U.S. leads the world in bottled-water consumption. . . . At the same time, one-third of the world's population lives in water-stressed conditions. That proportion will double by 2025, according to a 2006 United Nations report on water scarcity. Water is scarcest in arid developing countries plagued by drought and pollution, such as South Africa, where agriculture fuels demand.
our capitalism has become more about creating new markets by manufacturing artificial needs. And one of these “manufactured needs,” he contends, is the $10 billion bottled water industry. Sadly, hardly any of that money makes its way to Third World countries that don’t have the luxury of unpolluted water out of a faucet.And then the Chicago Sun-Times reported:
It takes 1.5 million barrels of oil -- enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year -- to make the plastic bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water, according to the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., environmental think tank.And bottled water is not significantly better for you than tap water. In fact, it may be worse for you, since there are no regulations or standards for how bottled water should be filtered or free of pathogens, whereas tap water is well-regulated. The Sun-Times reports, "The NRDC tested more than 100 types of bottled water and found 'spotty' quality, with a third of the brands containing contaminants such as arsenic in at least some samples, said Adrianna Quintero, an attorney for the group. 'The problem with bottled water is we really have no way of knowing what we're getting,' Quintero said."
The kind of plastic most commonly used for water bottles -- polyethylene terephthalate, or PET -- is recyclable. But consumers recycle just one of every five bottles they drink, with the rest ending up in landfills, said Pat Franklin, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, a Washington group that promotes recycling.
As a result of all this, I've been persuaded that this is an issue that Christians should be concerned about. Sure, it's better to drink bottled water than soft drinks. But the commoditization of water is creating an unnecessary consumer product, and evidently the bottled water industry is not doing much to provide increased access to clean water in disadvantaged areas of the world.
So if you drink bottled water, please recycle your bottles. Better yet, just fill a reusable bottle with tap water. Save the money you would otherwise spend on bottled water and direct it in ways more beneficial for people in need of clean water.