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Australian town bans sales of drinking water in plastic bottles

2009.10.01 Junji Hashimoto

On September 26, Bundanoon, a town of approximately 2,000 people located southwest of Sydney, began its ban on sale of mineral water in plastic bottles. While opposing the bottled water manufacturers move to develop the layer of groundwater in the area, the residents learned about the environmental impact of plastic bottles. That is what led the town to make a decision against the sale of bottled water. Bottled water was pulled from retailers' shelves and was replaced by reusable water bottles that can be refilled at water fountains or water stations.

In recent years, there has been a move towards reexamining the use of bottled water mainly in Europe and the US. The US-based Worldwatch Institute emphasizes the following 3 points in its section in the Vital Signs Update, whose author described bottled water as "an industry winner, but it's an environmental loser." 1) Excessive withdrawal of natural mineral water or spring water threatens local streams and groundwater. 2) Significant amount of energy is used in production and shipping. 3) Oil-derived plastics are used to make the bottles which are mostly unrecycled.

In response to this, many have begun to review the sale of bottled water and some local governments have banned spending public funds on bottled water, but Bundanoon is said to be the world's first town that has banned bottled water in the entire town. The town has received positive feedback and praise as well as inquiries from other local governments. Those involved in this movement in the town proudly say that even a small rural town can "bring about real and measurable change that has a benefit for the environment."

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Australia (Asia/Oceania

Junji Hashimoto

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