I was there outside Oakland City Hall Wednesday morning to kick off the nationwide “Think Outside The Bottle” campaign. Similar press conferences were being held in other cities around the U.S. at the same time. Here are excerpts from the San Francisco Chronicle article that appeared today, supplemented with photos from my camera:
Bay Area water fight: bottled vs. tap
Christopher Heredia, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Bottled water, bad. Tap water, good.
That was the message that tap-water advocates delivered on the steps of Oakland City Hall on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign to persuade cities, consumers and restaurants to dump bottled water in favor of old-fashioned municipal water.
Not only is bottled water more expensive, said a group of local government leaders and officials for Corporate Accountability International, the nonprofit sponsoring the campaign, but it often comes from the same sources as tap water and most of the bottles end up in landfills despite consumer efforts to recycle them.
And it tastes no different, they say.
In an attempt to prove that point, East Bay Municipal Utility District Board member Andy Katz donned a blindfold and tried to discern the difference between two bottled waters and tap water from Oakland and Berkeley that his district supplies.
“It’s hard to tell,” Katz said….
Tap-water lovers hope Oakland, Berkeley and other Bay Area cities will join San Francisco, Emeryville, Santa Clara, San Leandro and Los Angeles in dumping bottled water contracts….
The tap-water advocates have yet to get Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums to respond to their request that the city dump its contract with Alhambra water. In a strange coincidence during Wednesday’s news conference, a member of Dellums’ security detail walked by on his way to City Hall carrying a tray with three coffee drinks – and a bottle of water.
“On its merits, this is something the mayor would agree with, but we have to look at the infrastructure in our older buildings, the pipes and how they’re operating,” Dellums’ spokesman Paul Rose said Wednesday….
And here I am with other like-minded, plastic bottle-shunning activists hoping to make a difference.
The last time I wrote about the Think Outside The Bottle campaign, there wasn’t much reader response. But I think it’s really important for those of us who care about reducing plastic waste to sign the pledge to let our leaders know that we want them to support good, clean local tap water instead of turning the responsibility over to private bottled water companies that are not accountable to us and whose sole motivation is corporate profits.
If you haven’t already, please click this link to sign the “Think Outside The Bottle” pledge. This is a nationwide campaign. Currently, the focus is on 7 cities. But Corporate Accountability International hopes to have commitments from mayors throughout the U.S. before they are through. And I’ll be writing more about it as the campaign progresses.
If we are going to get people to stop buying water in plastic bottles, we need to make sure they feel secure with drinking tap water. And in order for that to happen, our cities need to support the local infrastructure to make sure that the water that comes out of the tap is actually safe to drink. Otherwise, folks may continue to believe the hype from Coke and Pepsi and Nestle that bottled water is the safer alternative.