Letter to the Editor: To all those still using disposable water bottles, please stop

Tap water in Halifax is fine. No reason to purchase disposable water bottles. (Photo by Angela Gzowski)

Tap water in Halifax is fine. No reason to purchase disposable water bottles. (Photo by Angela Gzowski)

Dear Editor,

It still baffles me that people, especially students, feel the need to purchase disposable water bottles. Although this has been an issue for years, they continue to be sold on Dalhousie campus and this is something that needs to stop. Millions of disposable plastic water bottles are recycled or thrown out every year. This waste is inexcusable and unnecessary.

The tap water in Halifax is clean and safe to drink. It seems pointless to depend on a product, which was created to encourage consumption and demonstrate affluence, when one can just as easily turn on the faucet and have their needs met. I can proudly say that Dalhousie has made an effort to remediate this issue by installing water fountains all across campus. These fountains track the amount of plastic bottles being saved and offer students and staff cold, clean water at no charge, at their convenience.

Purchasing and making use of a reusable bottle is a much cheaper and healthier way to consume water. Bottles come in every colour, shape and size and are sold in many retail locations. As an individual living on a student budget, I cannot imagine parting with two dollars each time I need to quench my thirst. The environmental and economical savings speak for themselves.

When I arrived at Dalhousie three years ago, I was given a water bottle in my frosh kit. This bottle was added to the growing collection of travel mugs, bottles and tumblers that I continue to use to this day. I was impressed that Dalhousie recognized this issue as pertinent, but it makes me worry that little has been done to continue moving this initiative forward.

I urge students to make a change in their own lives if they have not done so already, and I wholeheartedly encourage Dalhousie to ban the sale of disposable water bottles on its Studley, Carleton, Sexton and Truro campuses. This will prove to other institutions as well as to potential students that Dalhousie does uphold its commitment to sustainability. This goal will not be achieved overnight, and will require additional pressure and support from parties such as the College of Sustainability. In the short term, this issue may seem trivial, but over time this will make a lasting difference and will help to distinguish Dalhousie as a leader in issues regarding sustainability.

Sincerely,
Bridget Graham

Bridget is a third-year Environment, Sustainability & Society and Canadian Studies student at Dalhousie.

1 Comment

  1. RD on May 9, 2014 at 12:36 am

    Encouraging the community to use reusable water bottles and water fountains: yes.
    Banning the sale of water packed in disposable plastic bottles: going too far.

    Your job as a member of the College of Sustainability is to educate the community about the advantages of using reusable water bottles and then allowing the community to exercise its choice. If members of the community continue to purchase water packed in disposable water bottles, they have exercised their choice. There is no wrong in that. But a wrong is made when you decide what is good and bad for someone else. A wrong is made when you decide to become paternalistic.

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Bridget Graham

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