Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ethical Consumerism at its best: A rural community sets an example with its ban on Bottled Water

“Residents of Bundanoon, New South Wales, Australia have voted to ban the sale of bottled water in their rural town - probably the first in the world to do so.” [Mother Jones]

Last Wednesday, this rural Australian town 100 miles south of Sydney, made history with its near-unanimous consensus to ban the sale of bottled water. At the town meeting of 350 voters, only 2 voted against the ban. This indicates an increasing awareness of the futility of the bottled water and its drain on natural resources.

The landmark decision comes right after the State-wide ban in New South Wales, where State departments and agencies have been restrained from buying bottled water, calling it “a waste of money and natural resources”.

As people become increasingly aware of the importance of conserving potable water resources and energy, they are seeking feasible ways to green shift their conspicuous consumption habits, like that of bottled water. World-wide, we are witnessing a growing backlash against the bottled water industry.

For undoubtedly, bottled water is a redundant option today, when you take into account its high Life Cycle Assessment (L.C.A.). A one-litre bottled water requires a minimum 4 litres of water for production. At the same time it consumes energy during production (processing, bottle filling, labelling, sealing), transport and cooling. Its ecological rucksack being high, used bottles clogging landfills is another hazard.

Communities are discovering the benefits of tap water, which has always been a traditional norm in India. There is nothing to beat tap water, once properly filtered and sanitized. In a country blessed with water resources, such exemplary actions of ethical consumerism as displayed by the people of Bundanoon, would go a long way to preserve the bounty of potable water.

As for the bottled water industry, perhaps it could adopt some pro-active measures to reduce the water and carbon footprint of bottled water, as being done in the U.K.

(Cross Posted with INDIA WATER PORTAL)

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