Quezon City- As Filipinos flock to bus terminals, seaports and airports for the Holy Week exodus, a waste and pollution watchdog asks travelers to reduce their consumption of water in plastic bottles as they journey back to their hometowns or go on a pilgrimage.
"Many consumers find bottled water convenient as they carry on with their plans for the Holy Week. However, it is worth reminding the public that the ever increasing demand for bottled water is polluting and warming the planet," Baby Reyes of the Mother Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition said.
"Cutting back on the number of plastic water bottles that we consume is a simple act that will have tremendous benefits to the environment and the climate. It will be eco-friendly to use reusable water container and fill it with clean tap water from home or, if necessary, with filtered or boiled water," Reyes stated.
"If buying bottled water cannot be avoided, we remind consumers not to throw the empty ones out of vehicles, leave them on the sidewalk or beach, or burn them along with other trash, but to place them into the 'recycling' bin," she added.
The EcoWaste Coalition explained that fossil fuels such as coal and oil are burned to produce, ship, deliver, advertise and dispose plastic water bottles. The burning of fossil fuel energy and the ensuing toxic pollution, the group stressed, is mainly to blame for the climate change.
Last year's report "Take Back the Tap" by the US-based Food and Water Watch confirms that the production of plastic water bottles "consumes energy, pollutes the environment and contributes to global warming."
To illustrate how much fossil fuel energy is used in the production of plastic water bottles, the EcoWaste Coalition, citing figures from the Earth Policy Institute, revealed that 1.5 million barrels of oil is consumed annually in US to produce plastic water bottles. This is said to enough to fuel some 100,000 cars in US for a year.
The World Watch Institute estimates that 86 percent of the used plastic water bottles in US get dumped instead of being recycled.
In addition to the pollution issues, the EcoWaste Coalition also raised concern about the possible leaching of chemicals from the plastic bottles into the water, especially Bisphenol A, which is a known endocrine disruptor that is widely used chemical in the manufacture of plastic polycarbonate bottles.
"Aside from trimming down our consumption of water in plastic bottles, it is our hope that the consumers, lawmakers, water regulatory bodies, water service providers and other stakeholders can put their acts together to ensure people's access to clean and healthy drinking water," the EcoWaste Coalition said.