Thursday, August 02, 2007

In defence of tap water!

Image from
NYT has an eminently readable editorial urging New Yorkers to switch to tap water. It does some straight-talking by arguing that if one chooses to get the recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, he or she could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents.

And it makes great ecological sense when it says this:
"Water bottles, like other containers, are made from natural gas and petroleum. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington has estimated that it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles Americans use each year. That could fuel 100,000 cars a year instead. And, only about 23 percent of those bottles are recycled, in part because water bottles are often not included in local redemption plans that accept beer and soda cans. Add in the substantial amount of fuel used in transporting water, which is extremely heavy, and the impact on the environment is anything but refreshing."

Tap water is perfectly safe in these two cities. In fact, authorities in New York and in Paris (I lived there for a year on tap water and never fell sick) have launched campaigns urging people to switch to tap water. Wish we could do the same in India. The water I get from the tap in New Delhi (it is supposed to be "potable") leaves white residue after boiling and makes tea from home in Assam taste awful. Result: I have to depend on the 20-litre canisters that cost Rs 40 each. And, thereby, I leave my mark - my carbon footprint, however small it maybe. In return, it leaves a dent in my pocket!


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