How America’s Bottled Water Addiction fuels high Gas Prices
Most water companies use polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics to bottle their products. The manufacturing process of PET bottles requires a combination of natural gas and petroleum. It takes more than 17 million barrels of oil annually to create enough plastic to meet American’s demand for bottled water. That is enough to fuel more than one million cars in the USA for 1 full year.
Another problem is the transportation costs of bottled water. Water is very heavy and it takes a lot of fuel to transport millions of tons of drinking water every day. When the time comes to recycle these plastic bottles, even more oil is needed as recycling plants require large amounts of fuel and clean water to operate. So even the recycling of plastic bottles becomes a major depletion of the Earth’s precious natural resources.
Research from the Beverage Marketing Corp estimates that the average American consumption of bottled water has jumped from 1.6 gallons per person a year in 1976 to over 30.2 gallons a year in 2007. It’s no coincidence that our gas prices have increased so dramatically along with our consumption of bottled water.
It is estimated that only about 15-20% of plastic bottles get recycled. The majority ends up in landfills, with a good portion making it out to the oceans where they will break down into smaller pieces. These plastic pellets absorb many toxic chemicals like PCBs and DDT and are often mistaken for food by all types of marine life. This adversely affects the entire eco-system of the ocean as sickness and death is passed up and down the food chain. Since people eat seafood, our health is also affected by the plastics that pollute the seas.
The truth is we can all make a difference in the world simply by making a small change in our lifestyle and reducing our dependence on bottled water. Filtering your own pure water at home and using a re-usable water bottle is a small step that can make a big difference for the environment.
Some more facts on water pollution:
There are 35,000 pesticides containing 600 chemical compounds. Yet municipal water systems are only required to test for six. Many of these chemicals are known to cause birth defects, nerve damage, sterility and cancer.
The General Accounting Office reports that 20% of the nation’s 65,000 community systems are unable to meet minimum standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
More than 700 organic chemicals have been identified in drinking water, and some of them are suspected cancer causing agents.
A recent government study found that more than 25% of all large U.S. public water systems contain traces of one or more toxic substances. … Public water systems do not test for the carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals that are being found.
The World Desperately Needs Clean Water According to the WHO and UNICEF, dirty drinking water kills 2.2 million people per year, over 1.5 million of whom are children under the age of five (WHO, 2000). Unfortunately, this means that contaminated drinking water is in a tight competition with diseases like AIDS and cancer to be the biggest killer of human beings on Earth. This is a tragedy because many of the world’s water problems can be solved with education and technology.