Water is a basic need of all living things and it plays a very important role in the environment. Aside from sustaining life, water is also one of the most highly consumed natural resources. As the bottled water industries get bigger, what are the effects on the environment?
According to a 2004 report from the Earth Policy Institute, the global consumption of bottled water came up to 41 billion gallons. Even in areas where safe tap water is available, people opt to consume and use bottled drinking water. As the demand for it increases, the ramifications to the environment also increases. Due to the unregulated use of valuable resources by bottled water companies, the production of bottled water has presented a significant strain on the environment.
The production involves a myriad of side effects. First, the amount of water resources needed for the production has to be doubled. The first half is for the process and manufacturing and the second half is for marketable drinking water. According to the report from World Wide Fund (WWF), in 2001 the estimated amount of plastic bottles was up to 1.5 million tons in order to produce 89 billion litres of water every year. To produce the demand for bottled water worldwide, oil consumption has to be tripled.
Aside from the amount of natural resources needed to run the bottled water companies, waste production is also one of the challenges they are dealing with. As suggested by environmental experts, the principles and methods of Cleaner Production have to be applied and used by them. The methods involve having a systematic process where the amount of water and energy usage will be lessened to the amount which can be considered as sustainable. In addition, according to the Container Recycling Institute, 45% of plastic water bottles in the United States are not reused or recycled.
What can you do to help? First, if you aren’t sure about the safety of potable water in your place, you may use another process for your protection. Water does not necessarily have to be filtered; you may choose to have it distilled. The simple process needs you to boil your tap water. Let it cool and use a clean cloth to separate particles (if any) before you refrigerate boiled water. With this process, you can have clean, safe water in the comforts of your own home!
Keyword: water, bottled water, environment, energy, oil, waste, cleaner production