Bottled water is bad for the environment. Many single-use plastic bottles end up in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They make up most of the waste there, and it will take centuries to break down. Even when broken down, they turn into microplastics, which are harmful to the environment and to human health.
WHEN DID BOTTLED WATER COME OUT?
Bottled water has been around since the 17th century! The United Kingdom is thought to be where water bottling and selling began (Research from: Crystal Beverage Company):
Bottled water has been around since the 17th century! Water bottling and selling is thought to have begun in the United Kingdom.
Water was first bottled in 1622 at the Holy Well Water Bottling Plant. This is thought to be the world’s oldest water-bottling site.
At the time, there was a demand for spring water. People thought that spring water had medicinal properties and was good for one’s health.
The popularity of bottled water spread across the world as people learned about the benefits of drinking water.
Another company started selling their spring water in bottles as time went on. When carbonated water was first made available in the early 1800s, it changed the way people bottled water.
The first sale of bottled water in the US was made in 1767, by Jackson’s Spa in Boston.
Production of the first plastic water bottles began in the 1960s.
American engineer Nathaniel Wyeth patented the plastic soda bottle in 1973. Plastic containers were already in use at the time, but not for carbonated beverages. Wyeth created a specific type of plastic, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), that could withstand the pressure of carbonated liquid. Following this development, bottled water became incredibly popular in the United States.
Bottled water became even more popular in the 20th century because of the rise in technology at the same time.
The global water bottle industry is now worth billions of dollars.
BOTTLED WATER AND POLLUTION
Plastic water bottles are one of the leading causes of environmental pollution in the world (Research from Harvard University).
Bottled Water Pollution Facts:
Marine animals are the first to be harmed by plastic pollution. In the ocean, a few plastic bottles make their way into the water each year.
Plastic waste is bad for all kinds of fish and other aquatic animals. It also harms marine ecosystems by putting harmful toxins in them.
A lot of plastic bottles can also end up in freshwater sources. This can put people at risk of getting sick.
Water pollution can have an effect on the biodiversity of an ecosystem. This is because some of the contaminants make the water more acidic.
Plastic water bottles are made from fossil fuels, like crude oil, which is found in the ground. The process of making something puts harmful chemicals into the air.
Pollutants like benzene and nickel can cause very bad health problems if you breathe them in. Benzene can damage the bone marrow, which can lead to a gradual drop in red blood cell count. When nickel gets into your body, it can cause lung and kidney damage.
CO2 is released into the air when plastic water bottles are made.
Too much CO2 in the air is bad for the environment because it makes the planet warmer.
Plastic water bottles can get into the soil when they break down. They can get rid of chemical substances that change the soil’s chemistry.
Waste plastic bottles are often turned into nano plastics, which plants can easily take in and use as food.
Nanoplastics can build up in plants over time, which can hurt plant growth.
Plastic bottles can also keep oxygen from getting into the soil.
WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE BANNED PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES?
Most countries around the world have proposed a ban on plastic water bottles, but only a few have actually implemented any regulations. Here are some examples:
In 2016, France became the first country to ban the use of plastic plates, cups and utensils. The law also included a ban on plastic water bottles in schools and other public facilities.
In 2017, Kenya implemented one of the world’s toughest laws against plastic bags, which also included restrictions on the use of plastic water bottles in national parks and protected areas.
Several cities in Canada have banned the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities, including Vancouver and Montreal.
The United States of America
Some areas have implemented partial bans or restrictions on single-use plastics including water bottles.
Some countries around the world have also implemented initiatives to reduce the use of single-use plastics such as water bottles through taxes or fees on their production or consumption. While these measures can help raise awareness about environmental issues related to plastic waste, they may not always be effective at reducing overall consumption if people simply switch to other types of disposable beverage containers.
BAN ON BOTTLED WATER IN USA
The movement to ban bottled water in the USA continues to gain momentum:
Some high schools and universities have banned single-use plastic bottles.
Concord, Massachusetts: In 2012, Concord became the first town in the United States to ban the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles.
San Francisco, California: In 2014, San Francisco became the first major city in the United States to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property.
Maine: In 2019, Maine became the first state to ban single-use plastic water bottles in state facilities and parks.
Hawaii: Several counties in Hawaii have banned or restricted the use of single-use plastic bags, straws, and utensils, and some have also considered bans on plastic water bottles.
BOTTLED WATER MAY BE BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH
We have discussed the negative impact plastic water bottles have on the environment, but now let’s examine the potential health risks of drinking from a plastic water bottle.
The water that is put inside the bottle is safe for people to drink. Before the water is put into bottles, it is treated and checked. However, it is the plastic bottles themselves that may be harmful to your health:
One of the main chemicals of concern when it comes to plastic water bottles is bisphenol A (BPA), which has been shown in some studies to disrupt hormone levels and potentially increase the risk of certain health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. BPA has been banned in many places, but companies have simply replaced it with similar compounds that may be just as dangerous.
Other chemicals found in plastics, such as phthalates and antimony, have also been linked to potential health risks.
There is the potential for these chemicals to leach into the water you drink. This is more likely to occur if the bottle is exposed to high temperatures or prolonged use.
More research is needed on this topic before any definitive conclusions can be drawn. It’s worth noting that reusable stainless steel or glass water bottles are generally considered safer alternatives if you’re concerned about potential health risks associated with plastic. Additionally, using these alternatives cuts down on plastic waste.
SHOULD WE BAN PLASTIC BOTTLED WATER?
Overall, while there are arguments both for and against banning plastic water bottles, many believe that taking steps to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics is an important part of building a more sustainable future for ourselves and the planet.
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