Where does our water come from? Will it be there forever?

Drinking water is a fundamental right and is essential for people and the environment.

About 75 percent of the world's surface is covered with water, yet only 1 percent is drinkable.

In 2007, Americans bought 29 billion bottles of water. Water is becoming the next empire. Water is priced more than the cost of gasoline.

Nestlé, a company from Switzerland, made $3.6 billion dollars in profit towards bottled water sales in 2008. The Nestlé company has many labels on their brand; which include Poland Spring, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills, Ozarka and Arrowhead.

Nestlé (and other competing companies) target small rural areas where they are able to mine water, small towns like Fryeburg, Maine. In Fryeburg, people publicly and privately paid for their water to be cleaned and to be taken proper care of.

Nestlé has the "right" to take this water that was paid for by the common people of the town and sell it for an amazing profit (Nestlé is selling these very bottles throughout Maine).

In 2004, Fryeburg was out of water for a day and a half while Nestlé continued, and never stopped, mining water. The citizens of the town are coming second to this empire of producing bottled water. Soon, more companies will discover this gold of water mining—what will these people do then?

Many water sources have regulations about the pumping and/or mining of water. Ground water holds no regulations. The idea of ground water is that it's "free" for the mining of water. This allows company's such as Nestlé to go into towns and pull water and bottle it; which costs the company about 6 to 11 cents per gallon.

The company then sells the water for about $6 to $11 dollars per gallon. Most people are unaware of where the bottled water they are drinking comes from.

About 40 percent of drinking water comes from tap, or a public water source. The FDA has no regulations in regards to products that are produced and sold within the same state. The FDA only regulations products that are sold state to state.

Meaning, these bottling companies are selling 40 percent of the areas ground or tap water back to them for a thousand times the cost.

The FDA does, however, have regulations towards tap water. Water is tested in each area a minimum if three times per day. The greater the population of people the more times the water is tested daily.

Every city is required to submit a water quality report that can be viewed online: http://www.pgh2o.com/waterQuality.htm.

Advertisers and marketing plans try to convince the American public that bottle water is "healthier" than tap. Yet, bottled water is recalled because proper testing and reports are not required to be released publicly.

Example of water that has been recalled: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm254580.htm.

As consumers, we want everything to be personalized and individualized. It's the idea that something is just for us. We don't have to clean it or take care of it, we can just throw it away. As if that isn't enough, we want it immediately and conveniently. We also want it to be portable.

Meanwhile, hundreds of these plastic bottles are making their ways back into our waters, creating a plastic soup.

This is due to the fact that only 50 percent of Americans have access to curb side recycling. There is also not enough recycling capacity to handle the billions of plastic bottles that we are consuming.

Plastic bottles are produced in refineries with petrochemicals, obtained by the refining and the processing of petroleum or natural gas. All plastics are coded with a numbering system from 1 through 7.

The numbering system was created by the SPI (resin identification coding system) and can be explained in more detail here: http://www.plasticindustry.org.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) is the resin that is made to produce plastic bottles. It falls into the SPI coding as number "1."

These compounds are made from a clear liquid that is derived from refining crude oil. Eighty-percent of this chemical goes to the manufacturing of Pepsi, Coke and Nestlé bottles. Water bottle manufacturing uses 714 gallons of oil every year! 714 gallons of oil...? That's enough to fuel 100,000 vehicles!

Is all that information enough for you to reconsider buying that Dasani?

These refinery plants have major problems, all the time. Almost daily, chemicals from the plants are leaking into the ground waters of the surrounding areas. This means that it is effecting local areas in regards to the environment, air quality and tap water supply.

But wait, these chemicals are finding their way into the ground waters, then the companies are mining this water (not releasing the tests of what is in the water to the public) and then selling to the same local area.

So not only are the bottles themselves filled with chemicals and toxins (and depleting a large amount of oil resources), but the water filling the bottles are full of toxins as well.

Which raises two questions. Are we, as consumers, out if our minds? Or are the companies out of their minds?

While there is an enormous amount of research that explains plastic bottles are hazardous to our health, the companies refuse to admit that there is anything wrong with their bottles.

In fact they consider these bottles as "safe". We put some much faith into these companies and advertisements, that we stopped questioning.

By the year 2030, two-thirds of the world will lack clean drinking water. This will be a problem that everyone will have to deal with.

If consumers continue to purchase these bottles of water, companies will continue to produce bottled water in high quantities. It is important in a democracy for people to stand up for things that they believe in.

A democracy is a participatory sport. What will you stand up for?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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