In the Great Lakes watershed, bottled water has become a target for public concern. This water turns the commons into a commodity, provides little social benefit, and produces a flood of plastic waste (most of which is not recycled). To see how bottled water is part of a broken system, watch this Story of Stuff video:
Some brands simply take tap water and filter it. Aquafina (Pepsi) and Dasani (Coke) are packaged Mississauga and Brampton city water). Brands from Nestlé use groundwater and require a Provincial permit. The group Wellington Water Watchers (based in Guelph) is educating people about bottled water, it's permits, and what we can all do. Their campaign is called: Water for Life, Not For Profit.
Environmental Defence has a Cash It Don’t Trash It campaign to add a deposit to plastic bottles.
The Council of Canadians has a blog on water covering bottled water, water and trade, and water infrastructure.
There is a new citizen-led group protecting the Ottawa River. The Ottawa Water Study/Action Group has been very active these past few weeks on the issues of tap water quality and banning bottled water. They have an excellent Question & Answer section. To find answers to these common questions, check out their website.
How many single-use plastic bottles are used globally?
What is the problem with plastics in the oceans?
If we should not use single-use plastics , then what should we use for containers?
Why pick on single-use bottled water when there is wide-scale plastification of many other things (juices, various foods, toys, electrical gadgets, etc.)?
Is the water in plastic water bottles better than municipal tap water?
How big are bottled water sales in Canada?
What is the source of bottled water?
The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians website about water permits, safe water, and Nestle water takings. Their Our Spirits, Our Laws website informs us about Indigenous water rights and responsibilities. This includes a boycott for Nestle products.
Water Access and the Right to Water
Support for bottled water undermines our trust and investment in safe, accountable, and affordable public water systems. This Tale of Two towns in Michigan asks "who has access to clean water?
Access to clean water is not just a problem in Michigan or poor countries. Now in Canada, there are over 100 Drinking Water Advisories on First Nations reserves. While the Trudeau government has pledged it will end these DWAs in the coming years, progress has been slow. The David Suzuki Foundation did a 1-year progress report on this issue called Glass Half Empty? Human Rights Watch did a video in 2016 introducing to issue to Canadians.
The Water First organization is providing training, education and collaboration for safe drinking water on First Nations reserves. Learn about what they are doing. The Council of Canadians also report on this issue through their current blog posts.
Privatizing Canada's public water systems is an ongoing threat. The gap between what governments want to invest and the costs to keep waterworks safe and affordable is getter larger everyday -- in the billions. Read this Council of Canadian's report about how Canada's public water systems could be privatized (read about Hamilton's failed experience). Watch and learn about Europe's water wars in this documentary trailer: Up To the Last Drop.
How Privatisation Undermines the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, by Mark Beacon.
From the group END WATER POVERTY
Water and Sanitation
A People's Guide to United Nations Social Development Goal #6
Water and Human Health Fact Sheet -- by the Safe Water Drinking Foundation
Microplastics Fact Sheet -- by the Safe Water Drinking Foundation
WHAT ARE MICROPLASTICS?
HISTORY OF PLASTIC
PRODUCTION OF MICROPLASTICS
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MICROPLASTICS?
Water Justice, Ecology, and Faith Connections
Looking at Water Through the Lens of Integral Ecology, by Sue Wilson, CSJ (preview/download)
Reconciliation in the Watershed. A KAIROS workshop for ecological justice.
Statement on the Right to Safe Drinking water, by Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. (preview/download the statement)
Drinking Water Mindfully activity developed by Development and Peace. (preview/download the activity)
"For I Was Thirsty", World Water Day resource from the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program. (preview/download)
Becoming a Blue Community, Catholic Women's League presentation. Read about the event.
Aqua Fons Vitae: Orientations on Water, Symbol of the Cry of the Poor and the Cry of the Earth. Vatican publishes document on right to water access.
More Threats to Water Protection
The Pickering Plant is also a storehouse for an enormous amount of radioactive waste—more than 15 million kilograms of deadly spent fuel. The more than 760,000 spent fuel bundles stored at Pickering laid end to end would stretch from Kingston to St. Catharines. As well as dangerous radioactive elements, these bundles include enough plutonium to build more than 11,000 nuclear warheads.
Waterkeeper Investigation - Flushable Wipes
Stormwater and heavy rain easily cause aging infrastructure to get overwhelmed, causing sewage to wash directly into waterways. In addition to human waste and hazardous chemicals, this includes "non-flushables" such as fats/oils/grease, condoms, feminine products, needles, and WIPES. Wipes are one of the most common non-flushable items found clogging pipes and causing damage to wastewater systems.