Is water killing the planet? In Merriam Webster the word “recycle” is to “to pass again through a series of changes or treatments.” Water covers most of the earth and is considered a free resource, but one of the most important resources. In “Vote Yes on the Water Bottle Ban,” the Crimson staff hopes to ban all plastic water bottles on campus. Plastic has been harming our planet by creating overflowing landfills or swirls, and oceanic garbage heaps (Crimson staff 672). However, in “Bottled Water is Silly-But so is Banning it” Charles Fishman tells the readers that banning bottle water is silly because even though it’s bad, it just isn’t as bad as other bottled drinks. Fishman also said, “In fact, you’re struggling in the aftermath of a natural disaster, unless you live in a developing nation without safe tap water (674).” Fishman’s reasoning definitely creates a different viewpoint, but banning plastic is the issue. Water is an important resource in our daily lives, and we should use it to keep ourselves healthy. However, water in plastic bottles creates a terrible environment for all living beings. Thus, banning plastic bottled water is a start because it will create a safer environment that will lead to the ban of plastic.

“The Production of bottled water releases millions of tons of harmful chemical such as CO2 – into the environment (Crimson Staff 672).” In “Global Warming: Carbon Dioxide Emissions Worldwide Fell in 2009,” Pete Spotts discusses the impact of CO2 in global warming. Spotts suggests, “humans are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere faster than natural processes can scrub the gas, meaning that human emissions can stay in the atmosphere for centuries, if not longer.” CO2 is playing a part in global warming and the production of plastic created for water bottles is slowly killing the planet. Since, plastic is hurting the planet and most college students drink from plastic water bottles, campuses have been trying to ban water bottles on campus. In “Top Colleges Shunning Bottled Water” Andrew Theen says, “More than 90 schools, among them Brown and Harvard universities, are banning the sale or restricting the use of plastic water bottles, unnerving the $22 billion retail packaged-water industry in the United States.” However, banning plastic water bottles campus doesn’t imply that students should stay thirsty, but encourage students to drink from a reusable bottle. There will be re-fill stations and water fountains inside the campus to ease the burden of any student trying to find water (Crimson Staff). Furthermore, trying to ban plastic water bottles is just a start.

There are other plastic canned/bottles that hurt the environment and humans far more than plastic water bottles. Fishman says, “bottled water really falls into that category: luxury, indulgence, convenience.” Bottled water can be very expensive, depending on the brand of water. Also, bottled water is everywhere, in “Teaching Students Not to Waste by Giving Them Water Bottles” James Barron states, “The experts estimate 500 billion bottles are used in an average year around the world.” Water bottles have an important resource in them, water. Unlike products such as: Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Vitamin Water, and Red Bull (Fishman). However, “Regular Coke is 95 percent water; and Diet Coke us 99 percent water (Fishman).” So, the ban of water bottles doesn’t make any sense because harmful products such as Coke and Pepsi are still being sold and their mostly filled with water. “Regular Coke is 95 percent water; and Diet Coke is 99 percent water (Fishman).” In “A Bone to Pick Over Sodas” Elena Conis says, “several studies suggested soft-drink consumption might be linked to lower bone mass and reduced bone accretion–the process by which bone is built up–in children, especially teens.” Water is an essential resource for survival and sodas decreases the chances of survival. So, “Bottled water bans are not just oddly hypocritical – take bottled water out of campus vending machines while leaving soda in those machines – they seem oddly misplaced in a setting where people are supposed to be thinking for themselves (Fishman).” However, this issue does create different viewpoints, but the ban of plastic is still important.

Fishman’s first argument was “bottled water really falls into that category: luxury, indulgence, convenience.” Water is a free resource that covers most of the planet, so paying for a free resource is absurd. In “A Profusion of Plastic,” Melissa Savage tells us that “Americans spent $15 billion on 8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2006.” However, there has been a major increase in the production of water bottles which has only been hurting the planet. According to “A New App Can Help You Stop Buying Bottled Water,” Sara Ashley O’Brien says, “the UN Intergovernmental Panel released a bombshell climate change report that warned global warming is on track to have a disastrous impact if nothing changes by 2030. The report said the impact could result in extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people.” Samuel Rosen founder of Tap, says “I believe we, as consumers, have been robbed of our own water and sold back to us by corporations” (O’Brien). The luxury of water is having an extreme impact on hundreds of people. Furthermore, the convenience of water is also an issue. Since 500 billion water bottles were sold, but most weren’t recycled (Barron). “A prediction that by 2050, the plastic in the world’s ocean would weigh more than fish” (Barron). A free resource that became extremely expensive and affecting the life of millions.

Fishman’s second reason not to ban plastic water bottles was that “Bottled water bans are not just oddly hypocritical – take bottled water out of campus vending machines while leaving soda in those machines – they seem oddly misplaced in a setting where people are supposed to be thinking for themselves” (Fishman). Soda is very harmful to the body and environment, but soda isn’t the biggest issue anymore. In “Bottle Water Confronts Its Plastic,” Saabira Chaudhuri says, bottled water has officially dethroned soda as the most popular beverage. Just recently, “Bottled-water sales have boomed in recent decades amid safety fears about tap water and a shift away from sugary drinks. Between 1994 and 2017, U.S. consumption soared 284% to nearly 42 gallons a year per person, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a consulting firm (Chaudhuri).” Fishman’s did create different viewpoints, but they lacked evidence.

The ban of plastic water bottles is very important. “Single – use of plastic water bottles represent one of the most easily obviated threats currently plaguing the environment (Crimson Staff 3).” This is a serious issue because of the toxicity it brings to our planet. “Plastic drink bottles are the third most common type of item found washed up on shorelines — behind cigarette butts and food wrappers — according to the Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit (Chaudhuri).” Billions of water bottles are sold yearly and only twenty-five percent of them get recycled. There are definitely more harmful products in vending machines, but water bottles have become the biggest issue. The ban of plastic overall would be great, but there has to be a start. Starting the ban of all water bottles should start a cycle of banning all plastic containers. This change needs to start as soon as possible because everyone has to develop better habits that will help the environment for the better. Paying for a free and essential resource is only costing the life of this planet and everyone in it. Thus, the ban of plastic water bottles is essential for the survival of this planet.

Overall, banning plastic water bottles will not only help the environment, but it will also educate human beings that all type of plastic is bad and there are better alternative options. If we continue to consume as much plastic as we do, then by 2050 plastic in the ocean will weigh more than fishes. The alternative options such as reusable stainless-steel bottles will be more cost efficient and guarantee a safer environment. There will be more re-fill stations and water fountains. Water has become very expensive and convenient over the years, but barely any get recycled. Plastic water bottles need to stop being used, because they are not being recycled properly. However, sodas are still bad for the health and the environment, but plastic water bottles are still a healthier option; just not for the environment. The more we produce the more it negatively will impact the earth. Water isn’t free anymore, but it is definitely an enigma.

Essay by: Mohammad Ajwad Ashraf
University of Maryland

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