Thursday, April 09, 2015

On bottled water in Vancouver

The antipathy towards bottled water in Vancouver truly puzzles me. Yes, yes, our tap water is fine. No, no, Nestle shouldn't be allowed to steal as much of our groundwater as it can for pennies per litre. Water is a public good, close to a human right, and saying we should privatize and capitalize on it is putting us on a slippery slope towards the privatization of sunshine and oxygen. However, I wonder if anyone who has campaigned to end the sales of bottled water - at institutions like UBC, say, where you can't get the stuff in the cafeteria - has ever seen the net result: that you're left with a billion OTHER drink choices, ALL of which ALSO are mostly WATER, but have food colouring, sweetener, and other chemicals adulterating them...! Sometimes at that school I found myself in the situation of wanting to buy a bottle of water so I could carry it around and refill it and drink from it in class, only to discover that water wasn't an option unless I opted to get it at an inflated price and with a ton of sweetened adulterants. Why is bottling water as water bad, but bottling it as Coke, or Pepsi, or Vitamin Water, or whatever other adulterated water drink you favour entirely okay?

And do we really need a hundred different varieties of sugar water to choose from?

So here's what I say: either let places sell bottled water, OR - a Utopian proposal for modern society - make everyone carry a drink cup at all times, dispense with bottles and cans altogether, and make all restaurants and stores sell only fountain drinks of five or six varieties - a pop option, a couple of juice options, a carbonated water option, and a water option. We really don't need all the choices or flavours that we're given. Hell, you could just come up with one hybrid beverage and call it DRINK. (Maybe give it a bit of a punch, too, so it's kinda like Orwell's Victory Gin...?).

Unless you're going to commit to that (most rational, you must admit) path, why not sell bottled water? It makes no sense to me.

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