MWRA 2012-2013 Writing Contest Winners

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Nathaniel A. Burns
Grade 6, McCall Middle School
Mrs. Capobianco, Teacher


Tap Water is a Better Choice

Millions of people are drinking bottled water right now when almost all of them could be drinking tap water. The fact is, for most of these people there is no good reason to choose bottled water over tap water. The rare exception is for people that do not have access to tap water. For example, with loss of power or contamination of the public water supply, tap water may not be available. For everyone else, tap water is a better choice for your wallet and the environment. Not only is tap water readily available, it is just as healthy as bottled water.

Typically all populated areas in the United States have clean tap water available. Some may argue that bottled water is more convenient to get than tap water, but if you think about it, it is just as convenient, or even more convenient to take a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water repeatedly, than buy a new bottle of water every time you need one.

Additionally, it costs less to get tap water than to purchase bottled water.

Tap water is also better for the environment. On average, people in the United States throw away roughly 60 million plastic water bottles every day, and only a small fraction of those bottles are recycled. Most of the plastic water bottles end up in landfills, or even worse, the ocean.

Furthermore, plastic water bottles are estimated to take between 500 to 1,000 years to biodegrade, which certainly does not help Mother Nature. In addition to that, just imagine the amount of fossil fuel it takes to run the machines that make and transport the bottled water all over the world. These activities produce a large carbon footprint.

Tap water is just as healthy, if not healthier than bottled water. Some people believe that bottled water has a higher standard of water purification than tap water. Advertising misleads the consumer by claiming that bottled water is cleaner, purer and safer to drink than tap water. However, 40 percent of bottled water is really just re-processed tap water.

Both bottled water and tap water are regulated, but by two different government agencies. Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, while bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is widely known that although both agencies use similar standards, the Food and Drug Administration does not inspect and test bottled drinking water as frequently as the Environmental Protection Agency tests tap water.

For example, the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations for tap water do not allow it to contain e. coli or other fecal coliform bacteria, while no such regulation exists in the Food and Drug Administration regulations for bottled water. In fact, municipal tap water is required to be tested at least 100 times per month for coliform bacteria, while bottled water must only be tested once a week. Even if you still question the cleanliness of tap water, there are inexpensive water purification filters that can filter your tap water and give you peace of mind.

The next time you consider drinking bottled water over tap water just remember that tap water has many advantages over bottled water. Tap water is less expensive, more environmentally friendly, and just as clean and pure as bottled water.

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