The New York Times recently ran an article about the Australian town of Bundanoon, the first known community in the world to ban bottled water. Let’s make Jamaica Plain the second.
Boston city water is some of the best water in the country. It has to adhere to much more stringent US Food and Drug Administration requirements than bottled water does, and it tastes clean and fresh. And, as the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority reminds us, it comes at a cost of less than a penny a gallon. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/bwinx.asp), bottled water, on the other hand, can contain contaminants, including E. coli and parasites such as cryptosporidium. There is some evidence that chemicals in the plastic may leach into the water supply.
Bottled water uses massive amounts of energy for bottling and shipping. And, once we have consumed the water, the bottles often end up littering our streets or taking up space in a landfill rather than getting recycled.
In Bundanoon, the ban is voluntary, but all six of the major food retailers have agreed to stop selling the water. JP businesses would surely see the wisdom of the ban as well, as it would enhance the green reputation that they are already helping to build.
Bottled water is bad for our health, bad for our environment and bad for our wallets. Let’s make JP a leader in the country and in the world, and start the debate about banning bottled water.