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December 16th, 2009

Climate Change Conference Goes Bottled Water Free, But Could do More to Address Water Scarcity Issues

As part of a larger effort to go as green as possible, the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has been bottled water free! Forty water stations have been installed throughout the conference to provide water to the 19,000+ participating delegates. Were delighted that the world‚ largest gathering of environmental delegates, campaigners, diplomats, and activists has finally joined the movement towards conscious water use. After all, it takes more than 47 million gallons of oil to produce plastic water bottles for Americans every year. Eliminating those bottles would be like taking 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. While we applaud the United Nations for recognizing the harsh impact of bottled water on our environment, we are left to wonder why was water issues are not on the COP15 agenda?

The water crisis is one of the most serious issues facing our environment and its dwellers. Roughly 3 percent of our Earth‚ water is fresh water, and much of that is polluted and wasted. Due to global warming, the soil is drying up, making it difficult for rainwater to be absorbed into the ground. Due to urbanization, that same water is trickling over the pavement, out to the ocean. This means we need to conserve our freshwater resources as much as possible, and avoid any unsustainable practices such as bottling water. We spend our hard earned tax dollars ensuring that agencies such as EPA have funds to test our tap water hundreds of times a month. Why are we then spending thousands of dollars more for the same product that is only tested a few times a month by FDA that sits in toxin- leaching plastic bottles? We can only hope that next year COP16 starts to discuss the abuse of our freshwater resources and how those practices are also a major factor in contributing to climate change.

In the meantime, you can take action to decrease your own water footprint. We hereby challenge other events, businesses, and citizens to join our movement to Take Back the Tap and go bottled water free. You can also sign our petition for a Clean Water Trust Fund so communities can invest in their water infrastructure and deliver safer and cleaner water straight from the tap. Many were surprised when bottled water sales decreased this year for the first time in at least five years, but we wont be surprised when bottled water becomes obsolete. The time has come to take back the tap!

-Alyssa Mathews
Water Organizer Intern

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