In 2014, the problems with lead contamination in the municipal water supply in Flint, MI became front page news. This and several other incidents around the country have raised concerns about the safety of our tap water. As consumers, we have the choice of using the water provided by our local municipalities or purchasing water, either in large containers, as we see in water dispenser systems, or in individual bottles. At one time or another, almost everyone has purchased bottled water, say while on a trip or out at a fast food place. The growing demand for bottled water has raised concerns about the environmental impact of the plastic refuse created. These bottles can take over 1000 years to biodegrade in a landfill. So, why do we choose to use bottled water instead of tap water? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each?
Read the following articles:
Post your responses to the following questions:
1. Based on what you have learned in this module, compare the water you get from a tap and bottled water. Look at factors such as safety, cost, and convenience.
2. What do you see as the major environmental drawbacks and advantages of each source – tap and bottled? Consider concerns such as wasted water in the supply chain or production, pollution from the containers and/or delivery systems (such as lead pipes), and contamination from outside sources.
3. Compare the information in the readings and viewings assigned in this discussion and others from the module. Some are from environmental organizations, some from the bottled water industry, as well as one news report. What specific points do you see as unbiased scientifically based information, and what do you see as a more slanted or biased perspective? Most likely, nothing you read is actually wrong, but it may be “cherry picked” data that supports the perspective of a particular group. Give at least two examples of each.
4. What source or sources would you recommend to a friend who is interested in learning more about drinking water from the tap vs. bottled? You can locate your own sources or select from any in the module, but be sure to give reasons why you think this is a reliable source for information.