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In 9 Days, Toast Public Water!
World Water Day Launch
Last night the Polaris Institute joined with CUPE and the Council of Canadians to Toast Public Water and Turn Parliament Blue to kick-off a week of World Water Day activities.
Continue reading for the article in the Centretown News. The original article by Myles Gough can be found HERE in the Centretown News, published by Carleton University of Ottawa, on March 13, 2009.
‘Ban the bottle’ movement grows in Ottawa
The fight against bottled water continued on Thursday night, as local activists and politicians gathered on Parliament Hill to endorse and celebrate Ottawa’s municipal water source.For most “water warriors” the event was a change of pace. Instead of raising their voices to condemn the bottle, they were raising their glasses with a chilly toast to tap water.
“I drink public water. We should all drink public water,” said NDP leader Jack Layton. “Its produced by the best darn workers you’ll ever find. It’s tested thousands and thousands of times, while the stuff in that bottle – you have no idea where it came from, or where it has been.”
Layton and city councillor Clive Doucet were among the politicians who braved the icy temperatures to show support for the growing movement, which is aimed at stopping the sale of bottled water on all city-owned property.
Joe Cressy, Polaris Institute researcher and member of the Inside the Bottle campaign, says there has been lots of progressive action taken at the municipal level in Ottawa.
Whether it’s the school board or city council, there seems to be a growing trend toward reinvesting in the tap, he says.
“The problem with bottled water is that it’s the privatization of a resource that we all need to be able to drink for free,” says Cressy. “What this movement is really about is ensuring that residents, when they want a drink of water, are able to reach for the taps – not a toonie for the vending machine.”
Cressy says the movement is also motivated by environmental concerns, noting the problem of recycling is an important consideration.
A major boost of support came earlier this month after the Federation of Canadian Municipalities openly encouraged its members to phase out the distribution of bottled water in city buildings.
Although the decision is not legally binding, it is an important step forward, and Cressy says it could be the tipping point.
Maude Barlow, national chairperson for the Council of Canadians, agrees.
“This is a huge step in the right direction,” she says. “This is a real movement we’ve got going, and I don’t think it is going to be stopped.”
To date, 12 municipalities in Canada have prohibited the sale of bottled water in their jurisdictions. Several other cities have stopped buying bottled water for internal functions.
Barlow says the next step is to proceed up the ladder to provincial legislatures.
World Water Day
On March 22nd, raise your glasses to tap water over purchasing bottled water. Drink from the tap to demonstrate your commitment to tap water for all. In schools, homes, hockey arenas, places of worship and everywhere water flows – toast public water!
Take Action Now!
Sign-Up and pledge to making a toast to public water. Visit www.insidethebottle.org to sign-up.
To tap water for all!
The InsidetheBottle.org Team