So says Environment Minister Phil Woolas.
Bottled-water bashing is nothing new but it’s raised its head again and it’s now a Labour MP who is attacking the dirty habit.
He said it was daft that six million litres of bottled water were drunk every day in Britain when safe tap water ws universally and cheaply available.
I think he has a very valid point. No-one can realistically deny how unethical it is that we buy bottled water in such great quantities when many, many people don’t have the simple luxury of water from a tap. Then there’s the environmental impact from bottled water. As the article points out, the whole process of bottled water leaves a huge carbon footprint and the fact that we actually import it goes way beyond the realms of absurdity. From the Times:
Bottled water has been calculated to have a carbon footprint more than several hundred times bigger than tap water for some brands. Many bottles are transported thousands of miles to get to Britain from countries including the United States and Fiji.
Unsurprisingly, the bottled water industry has come out in defense of their product by playing the social responsibility card and saying that many jobs depend on the water industry.
The little bottle of water became a bit of a fashion statement and for a while it was just not the done thing to be seen out without a trendy bottle of Evian clasped in your hand. It was about as essential an item as your mobile phone. And there were no age barriers. I still see people of all kinds of ages with their little bottle of H2O at hand. That said, I hear that the tide is turning with last years sales falling and more and more people becoming less afraid of requesting tap water in restuarants and cafés.
And for those who just won’t be weaned off the bottle, perhaps we should give them the 4×4 treatment . . . demonise them bit. Slap a sales tax on every bottle. Make it morally uncool.
The article tells us that Phil Woolas is supporting a campaign by Friends of the Earth and Thames Water aimed at persuading people to switch back to tap water. Also, this Monday’s Panorama programme asks . . . Bottled Water: Who Needs It?