30 October 2008

Public Urged to Cut Use of Bottled Water as Undas Exodus Starts

Quezon City. An environmental coalition working on waste, climate and chemical safety issues urges the public to cut down on bottled water as Filipinos from all walks of life troop to the cemeteries to remember the dead.

“We expect a surge in the purchase and disposal of water and beverage in plastic bottles as millions pay respect to their departed ones over the weekend. Unknown to many, the uncontrolled consumption of bottled water is polluting and warming the planet,” Manny Calonzo, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, said.

The rise in demand for bottled drinks, observed the EcoWaste Coalition, means increased production and transportation of plastic bottles. These processes consume lots of energy from polluting, non-renewable sources, and add to the country’s waste disposal problems.

The EcoWaste Coalition made its plea for reduced consumption of bottled water following the launch last Saturday of its annual campaign for a clean and toxics-free observance of the widely popular All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2.

Citing information from the Food and Water Watch, a non-profit consumer group based in Washington DC, the EcoWaste Coalition explained that the manufacture of polyethylene or PET bottles for bottled water eats up loads of energy and contributes to global warming.

In the United States, for instance, the yearly production of PET bottles to meet the upward demand for bottled water takes the equivalent of about 17.6 million barrels of oil, excluding the oil required to transport the bottled water to consumers.

A study by the Earth Policy Institute also shows that the bottled water industry in the United Kingdom generates about 30,000 tons per annum of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.

“Bottled water also hurts the environment with the unchecked disposal of empty bottles in dumpsites, along sidewalks or in waterways. Burning plastic bottles discharges harmful and carcinogenic chemicals too,” the EcoWaste Coalition warned.

The group urges Filipino consumers to reduce their waste size and carbon footprint by refraining from buying bottled water unless absolutely necessary.

As an ecological alternative to bottled water, the EcoWaste Coalition advises consumers to fill reusable containers with clean tap water or with filtered or boiled water when traveling.

Considering the threat of harmful chemicals such as bisphenol-A (a known endocrine disruptor) leaching from polycarbonate plastic bottles, the Coalition recommends that consumers switch to reusable stainless steel or glass containers.

As a long-term solution, the EcoWaste Coalition urges the government, the industry and the entire citizenry to protect water as a public resource, ensuring that water sources are protected from dumping, mining and other environmentally-damaging activities.

“Ensuring public access to clean, safe and affordable water supplies will surely benefit public health, the climate and the environment, and influence consumer preference for tap water over bottled water,” the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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