Message in a Bottle
I mentioned in my previous post a bottle of water, and whilst I appreciated that particular gesture, one of the disturbing aspects of travel in the third world is the amount of waste one generates in the purchase of bottled water. Whilst this issue is somewhat alleviated when one is in a position to boil water, the injudicious use of plastics in Peru, and the lack of consciousness around their impacts is obvious. This issue obviously pertinent to my current journey as the chemicals in plastics often mimic estrogens and have strong links to the development of breast and ovarian cancers. So, in the course of visiting Peru to attempt to cure cancer, one maximises one's exposure to the very chemicals which may be causing the problem in the first instance. All the more reason to develop broader social strategies and stories about health of entire biospheres, as opposed to focus upon the individual. Below is an excerpt from the weblog of the David Suzuki Foundation about this very issue.
Many people prefer to spend money on bottled water, believing that it is somehow safer. Now we’re learning that the stuff in plastic water bottles may be more harmful than anything in our tap water. Bisphenol A is just one chemical that’s been in the news – and in many plastic bottles – recently. This compound mimics estrogens (human female hormones) and has been linked to breast and ovarian cancers and childhood developmental problems. It is found in clear, hard polycarbonate plastic commonly used in household and commercial water coolers and some reusable bottles, and it’s just one potentially harmful substance associated with plastic containers.
The presence of chemicals isn’t the only reason we should try to wean ourselves from the bottle, though. For one thing, bottled water is expensive, costing more than a comparable amount of gasoline. Unlike most nations on Earth, Canada has vast quantities of fresh water. Have we so polluted our water that we feel compelled to pay a lot for it? And from beginning to end (and for plastics, that end is a long time away), plastic bottles contribute to environmental problems. To start, the manufacturing process is a factor in global warming and depletion of energy resources. It takes close to 17 million barrels of oil to produce the 30 billion water bottles that U.S. citizens go through every year. Or, as the National Geographic website illustrates it: “Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle.” It also takes more water to produce a bottle than the bottle itself will hold. Canadians consume more than two billion litres of bottled water a year, and globally, we consume about 190 billion litres a year. Unfortunately, most of those bottles – more than 85 per cent, in fact – get tossed into the trash rather than the recycling bin...
There’s also a danger that governments may use the growing reliance on bottled water as an excuse to avoid their responsibility to ensure we have access to safe drinking water. The federal government must address any existing concerns about drinking-water quality with enforceable standards designed to protect human health.
If you’re worried about chlorine in your drinking water, put it in a pitcher and let it stand overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate – or consider buying a carbon activated filter for your tap. To carry water with you, fill up your stainless steel or glass bottle from the tap, and enjoy. Water is a precious resource that belongs to all of us. Let’s not take it for granted. And let’s not put it in plastic.
[From Message in a Bottle]