Action Pack Stories: Justice - The Privatization of Water

This blog post is part of a series that demonstrate how our Action Packs are used! This post covers the 'Water Privatization' in our Justice Action Pack. 

Before I started college, I bought plastic bottled water almost every day. Yes, I bought water. But did I really need to pay for all that water when I could have gotten it for free instead? I started to change this habit as I learned more about how plastics harm our environment. Now, I have been bringing a reusable water bottle with me for 5 years. I’ve really changed the way I live with water. 

I learned about the negative impacts of plastics, which encouraged me to switch to reusable water bottles, in the ‘Privatization of Water’ justice action pack. But more significantly, I hadn't realized until completing this action pack that the bottled-water industry exists as a result of the privatization of water.

Throughout the research process of this action pack, I was most impressed by a video called The Story of Bottled Water. This video taught me that bottled water is actually created by manufactured demand. The bottled water industry scares people about tap water, seduces people with marketing strategies, and supplies misleading information. In fact, studies prove that bottled water is not necessarily cleaner, safer, or better tasting than tap water. In addition, it requires a large amount of energy to produce a plastic water bottle, and plastic bottles contribute to land waste pollution. Not all bottles can be recycled, and many are even transported to poorer countries, increasing their own waste. This creates social injustice. What’s more, bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water.

The research showed me that tap water is actually safer than we thought since it’s purified. This encouraged me to research whether the tap water in Hong Kong (Where I’m from!) is safe to consume. Under a fast disposable culture, and since most people in Hong Kong boil their water before they consume it, they tend to buy more bottled water to fulfill their needs. However, my research shows that most of the water from the tap in Hong Kong is actually safe to drink. The main concern is contaminants from pipes, only in older Hong Kong buildings.

To show our commitment to a sustainable environment, people should carry their own reusable bottles filled with tap water when they go out. I personally think that it really helps to save money, and most importantly, it avoids generating more plastics than the earth should have to deal with! Other than using a reusable bottle for water, as a result of this action pack, I also pledge to bring my own bottle when I need to get a coffee, bubble tea, or any of my other favourite drinks on-the-go!


About the author:

Tiffany joined the Be The Change Earth Alliance team as an intern in May 2019. Having learned about the earth and environment in high school geography, Tiffany grew her interest in the environment around her. Growing up in Hong Kong, Tiffany has always found that air pollution is a serious problem and the environment condition strongly affects people’s living standards. It triggered her to learn how societies and the environments affect one another, and she chose to pursue her studies in Geography with a concentration in Environment and Sustainability and a minor in Commerce at UBC. She is also a transfer student and has earned an Associate of Arts degree in Seattle, Washington. During her time in school, Tiffany has volunteered for various environmentally-related events, such as the wildlife and water quality monitoring project, and has produced a video to encourage sustainable practices for the Ministry of Citizen’s Services. In the future, Tiffany hopes to work in the field of environmental planning or education with all the diverse skills she has acquired and help to enhance the sustainability of the environment.

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