Water, water everywhere, for a price

The Yukon has a lot of water. Rivers, lakes, marshes, ponds, aquifers … it has it all. In abundance. Most of it is pure.

The Yukon has a lot of water.

Rivers, lakes, marshes, ponds, aquifers … it has it all. In abundance.

Most of it is pure.

Sure, there are exceptions. Champagne, with its radiation-tainted well water springs to mind.

But, generally speaking, the Yukon’s water supply is excellent.

Which is why we were so impressed with Lewis Rifkind’s observations last week.

Rifkind, who works for Raven Recycling, noted the insanity of society trucking little plastic bottles of water into the territory.

Think about that for a moment.

The territory has an abundance of water.

We can fill up water bottles in our sink.

The municipal water supply is tested regularly for nasties. It’s safe to drink.

But, instead, many citizens are choosing to buy bottled water from private firms.

In many cases, that water is not as stringently monitored as the stuff coming out of our taps.

Yet we demand it, expending non-renewable fossil fuels to get it to the Yukon, polluting the world’s air and water supplies and exacerbating climate change in the process.

Then the bottles choke our landfills, or we pay to send them to southern recyclers.

In the latter case, we expend non-renewable resources and create more greenhouse gasses trucking them south again.

An outside observer would think us insane.

What’s more, we pay $2 a bottle for the privilege.

A public water fountain is, essentially, free.

So is tap water.

The commoditization of water is a troubling trend.

The private water industry is growing 15 per cent a year.

And, as citizens are trained to pay private companies for water, there is less incentive to ensure municipal government’s provide clean, pure water, says KAIROS, a society of Canadian religious groups.

That is, there is a subtle erosion of trust in municipal water infrastructure.

The public is being trained to buy it from Nestle, Coke and Pepsi.

And, in doing so, it is privatizing a public resource.

So do yourself a favour and use the tap.

It’s safe, you’ve already paid for it and it’s good for the environment. (RM)

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