Monday, June 30, 2008

A No-Sweat Win for the Environment

At the start of the thirst season, the US Conference of Mayors has struck a blow for American consumers and the quality of air they breathe by agreeing to stop buying bottled water.

Recognizing that the oil used to distill water, make plastic containers and ship them over long distances rivals the energy spent and pollution caused by gas-guzzling cars, the mayors approved a resolution to redirect taxpayer dollars from bottled water to other city services.

"Cities are sending the wrong message about the quality of public water," says San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, "when we spend taxpayer dollars on water in disposable containers from a private corporation. Our public water systems are among the best in the world and demand significant and ongoing investment."

In a report on the absurdity of the situation, the Washington Post reports, "Trillions of dollars have been spent to get clean drinking water to people at virtually no cost--and it is people in precisely these countries who seem willing to pay premiums of 1,000 percent to 10,000 percent...(T)he bottled-water trade makes selling snow to Eskimos sound like a reasonable business proposition."

More than 60 mayors have reportedly canceled contracts for bottled water and, if enough Americans start tapping their own faucets and using the money they have been wasting on what they really need, both the environment and the economy will benefit.

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