MWRA 2012-2013 Writing Contest Winners

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Sebastian Ware
Grade 7, Home School, Arlington
Maura Ware, Teacher


Tap Water's Triumph Over Bottled Water

The bottled water industry has disillusioned many Americans into believing that bottled water is better than tap water. That just isn’t true. In fact, bottled water can damage your health, harm you financially, and it is also destroying the environment. The purpose of this piece is to make you aware of the disadvantages of bottled water.

Let's start off with some interesting facts. For example, Americans spent $21.7 billion on bottled water in 2011 .... for no good reason. The U.S.A. has one of the best tap water systems in the world, but still leads in the bottled water industry. While bottled water may be more convenient for some people on the go, or in case of emergency, the reality is that tap water is much better overall. I mean, it's always right at our fingertips, for a very reasonable price, while bottled water requires us to go to a store, buy it at expensive prices, and, when we get home, to store it and take up a lot of room in our refrigerators. Why bring upon ourselves so much trouble, when all we have to do to get tap water is to turn on a faucet?

A common misconception that many people have is that tap water is worse for you in regard to health than bottled water. Well, the truth is, it isn't. First of all, nearly 40% of all bottled water is actually reprocessed tap water, and about 25% of bottled water comes from a city water system. So, you see, a lot of bottled water is just the same as tap water ..... except worse. Did you know that water bottles contain phthalate, a chemical that is used to soften plastic, and can increase the risk of cancer? This chemical can leach into the water that's in the bottle. And while tap water may not be perfect, it doesn't have nearly as many disadvantages as bottled water does. In fact, if you buy a filter for your tap water, it can be even cleaner and more pure than those leading bottled water companies claim their water is!

Bottled water also contains more contaminants than tap water, simply because while tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whose requirements are similar to those of the EPA, but are years behind in their inspections. City tap water has to be tested by laboratories that are approved by the government, but, for some strange reason, bottled water is not subject to this rule. The FDA guidelines for bottled water do not require that it does not contain E.coli or fecal coliform bacteria, but tap water isn't allowed to contain these harmful substances. Bottled water is also only tested once a week for coliform bacteria, while municipal tap water has to be tested for this at least 100 times for this over the course of a month. So, what leads people to the conclusion that bottled water is safer than tap water? All the facts point against this theory.

Not only can bottled water be bad for your body, it can also tax you financially. A sip of bottled water costs about 1,000 times more than a sip of tap water, in the U.S.A. Here is a great example of how outrageous the cost of bottled water is: If you buy a 20- ounce bottle of water from a vending machine for $2, that comes to $0.10 per ounce. And you know how gasoline prices have risen so sharply recently, right, and how gas costs way too much? The average price of gasoline per ounce is $0.02. That means that bottled water costs 5 times as much as gasoline per ounce! Now that is ridiculous!

Protecting the environment is becoming a more and more popular subject recently. But the fact is, we're trashing our natural surroundings by drinking bottled water. About 60 million plastic bottles are disposed of every day here in the U.S.A. In addition, around 1.5 billion tons of plastic from bottles go into landfills all over our country each year. Plastic takes over 300 years to degrade, so when we throw it away, it pollutes our world. On top of this, huge amounts of fossil fuels are used to make, transport, deliver, and store bottled water. And the planet's supply of fossil fuel is rapidly diminishing. Plus, many plastic bottles end up in the world's oceans, and present a serious threat to marine animals if they happen to consume the trash.

My point is that tap water is much more beneficial than bottled water to everybody, in many different ways. If you want to be healthy, save money, and save the earth, drink tap water!

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