Sunday, August 03, 2008

Water, water....

There was a story I read this week from the CBC (on media monitor at work, it's not on their website, frustratingly enough) talking about bottled water use in Nunavut. It was about a scientist puzzled by the amount of bottled water sales in Nunavut. Specifically, he was puzzled and a bit upset with the amount of bottled water bought in the territory. His argument is that Nunvaut has some of the best water in the world, why on earth would people be buying the bottled stuff?

Now, there's some argument to be made against that. Several communities are having some water problems. I recall reading about complaints about the quality of water here in town before I went on vacation....too much copper, I believe. And we prefer to use a Britta filter before drinking the water, just to be on the safe side.

But for the most part, the scientist is right. There really is little need to pop into a store, open a cooler and grab a bottle of water that was likely shipped from god knows where and then flown up here from Ottawa. There are enough other options in the north that bottled water sales should be minimal. And that's before we get into bulk water sales, like the large bottles for coolers and people buying large bottles for home use. However, people up here do it all the time. And while I don't think I've bought a bottle of water in Iqaluit, I'm certainly guilty of hitting the water cooler far quicker than going for a tap.

There's been no shortage of stories about the evils of bottled water. About the environmental impact of creating all that plastic, the fuel costs with shipping water and then all the plastic being tossed away. And I understand all of that. I really do. I understand about trying to convince people to not buy as much of it. It makes sense.

But when we were in Italy, it was very hard to get around buying bottled water. The tap water in some places is ok to drink (surprisingly, Rome water wasn't bad. Florence was supposed to be drinkable, but wasn't). But you have to drink water. I think one day we accidentally didn't drink as much as we should have and paid the price.

And you need lots of water to get by. I figure we were drinking at least four litres per person, per day, if not more. That's a lot to be carrying around with you all day, so you end up buying some when you're out. It's hard to get around buying water, even if you're trying to cut back. It's bloody hot there. Sitting down and doing nothing and you're still sweating out a ton of water. You need to keep hydrating.

So I can understand bottled water in hot climates. Even with public springs, like Rome and Florence had, you're still going to have to buy some bottled water otherwise you're in trouble.

But in Nunavut, not really the same excuse. You're not as likely to get radically dehydrated from the heat. Nor are you ever really far from a decent and clean source of water. So it is kind of silly to be buying it so much.

What's the point of all this rambling? Just a reminder to myself to watch where I'm getting my water and musing to myself that for all the stories saying how we should cut back on bottled water, it's not as easy as we might think it is. Trying to do the right thing rarely is.

Last Five
1. Mr. Feathers - Elvis Costello and the Imposters
2. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
3. Right by your side - Eurythmics
4. Take you on a cruise - Interpol
5. Little bones - Tragically Hip

1 comment:

jen said...

I have to brita my water too because it's not sufficiantly processed in this community, but down south (in most places) I would just drink from the tap. So I do see the convieniance if we did even get bottled water here, but since we don't I just bring my Nalgene bottle everywhere. I guess if it saves on waste it's worth it.
It's also quite the opposite about dehydration in cold weather. Espeically the cold weather you would see in Nunavut. If you spend the day outside in extreme cold temperatures you can loose a lot of water. Even just by breathing. You can also become more dehydrated because for some reason the hormone that triggers thirst in your brain doesn't work as well in colder temperatures. I just learned about the hormone thing recently, think I'm going to make sure to force the 8 glass rule even in the winter this year.