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Between plastic waste and polluted tap water – Post World Water Day Reflections

When I lived in Seattle, my ex used to think I was crazy for boiling potatoes with Evian. I, on the other hand, had to watch him drink water from one of those completely useless Brita pitchers.

Now that San Francisco has banned plastic water bottles, a girl has to wonder, where am I going to get good quality spring water if other cities follow?

Saving the Whales

The plastic in our oceans kills whales. I once knew an environmentalist who traveled the world in a tiny boat raising awareness about ocean pollution, and he told me the ghastly stories of finding the stomachs of dead whales pumped full of plastics. (The environmentalist did trash my summer house worse than corporations trash oceans, but that´s another story). Anyway, I am very aware what plastic does. But what if I want to put really good water inside my body, only?

The Fracking Disaster

It all started when I watched a documentary entitled Drill, baby, drill. It was about fracking in Pennsylvania and Poland. It showed how Chevron was basically systematically polluting subterranean water in order to extract fuels using the method of fracking. Among other things, it showed people taking black water from the tap in Pennsylvania and lab tests that showed water had many pages of chemicals, including several radioactive ones.

Water in America

After that, I did some research, and found out that most of the bottled water in America is basically filtered tap water, even many brands that advertise their product as “spring water.” Then I looked at water filters, and learnt that those household Brita pitchers basically only eliminate chlorine.

One of my ex´s arguments was that the water in Seattle was fabulous because it came from the mountains, but looking at the ranking of tap water across America, I discovered that Seattle was not at the top of the list.

Endangered Aquifers

In 2016, even places where tap water used to be immaculate like Uruguay, a country that sits on the planet´s largest aquifer, are having problems. The extensive soy plantation is ruining Uruguay´s fresh water bodies, and this is something that is also happening in many other places.

Personally, after seeing all of this, I have been sticking with guaranteed quality bottled water, which I try to obtain in 2-gallon containers whenever possible, to diminish plastic pollution.

When it comes to filters, only a combination of several processes, including carbon filters and distillation can guarantee that the water will be truly immaculate.

Still, I am torn between what is best for my health and what is best for the planet. Personally, I think there is no one-way solution to get us out of this mess.

Water Recycling

I have seen some great initiatives. For example, systems that recycle water from sinks for use in toilets. Naturally, another thing we could be doing is recycle the whole thing, I mean, except from the water that comes out of our toilets, the rest could all be recycled and made drinkable again.

In fact, when I worked on cruise ships (don´t get me started on the water there), during our training, we were told the ships had the technology to make even toilet water drinkable, and that they used these systems before dumping water into the ocean.

Drinking the Good Water

I want to stay healthy and I love great tasting water: Uruguay´s Salus, Fiji (not buying anymore, because the company supports a cruel dictatorship), Evian, Perrier, Volvic; but I want to contribute to protecting both our resources and our oceans.

One thing we could all do today is demand from our leaders better programs for quality control of tap water and legislation to ensure that fracking does not ruin our precious aquifers. I feel that banning plastic bottles only solves part of the problem. The other thing is that we need to be ready to invest on these things. Tap water has traditionally been cheap. I feel that it would be great to make tap water still affordable yet also sustainable. And I certainly believe many people wouldn´t mind paying a bit more to ensure that our grandchildren and our grandchildren´s children will still have delicious, life-giving H2O for many centuries to come.

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