With the global pandemic and the lack of tourists, you would think our beaches would be pristine and clean, but you’d be wrong. Despite our lack of visitors, the beaches are still inundated with plastic water bottles, bags and cigarettes, which means some of it comes from us.
According to the association EcoWatch, Cigarette butts are the first form of trash, followed by food packaging, plastic beverage bottles, bottle caps and grocery bags.
A recent study conducted by the Institute for Global Health in Barcelona found that bottled water uses 3,500 times more resources and causes 1,400 times more damage to the ecosystem compared to drinking tap water. If that doesn’t convince you to stop drinking bottled water, here are seven more reasons.
1. Pollution – The world uses more than 100 million plastic beverage bottles every day, of which we recycle only 1 in 5. The rest ends up in landfills, on our beaches and in our waterways.
2. It’s expensive Bottled water is 240 to 10,000 times higher than what you pay for tap water. You pay for the marking, treatment and transport of the water. According to an estimate, you can save around B12 500 per year by drinking filtered tap water.
3. Your health – Most people drink bottled water because they think it’s healthier, but it’s not. A study of the World Health Organization found that 93% of the most popular water bottle brands contained microplastics. Because there haven’t been long-term studies of human health effects, we don’t know what they’re doing to us. But some Preliminary studies suggest that they may be linked to both cancer and infertility in humans and animals.
An investigation by the association Environmental working group (EWG) revealed that many major brands of water contained toxic chemicals, including fertilizer residues and disinfectants, above state safety limits. Many brands tested were also nothing more than tap water, although they cost up to 1,900 times as much.
4. Snack – In various taste testing, drinkers could not tell between bottled water and tap water.
5. Profit from businesses Safe drinking water is a basic human right. However, the public has been complicit in allowing companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and NestlÃ© to exploit us by continuing to buy their products. The bottled water industry remains one of the most dynamic on the planet and makes $ 200 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow by 11.1% per year through 2028. Boycotting bottled water means you recognize that public access to clean and safe drinking water is a right.
6. It depletes clean water – It takes three bottles of water to make a single bottle of water when you consider drilling for oil to make the bottle and processing and transporting the water. As the population grows and droughts and other climate-related events hit us, clean water will become increasingly scarce.
7. Climate change – We use 100 million plastic bottles every day around the world. It takes a lot of oil to produce them, and all that water is heavy and has to be transported across the country. Among the most cited to study, CO2 the footprint for 1.5 liters is approximately 200 grams per bottle. The average household drinking a bottle of water will consume around 800 bottles per year, which translates to 160 kg of CO2 or the equivalent of driving 368 miles (592 km) with a car.
What you can do
The easiest thing to do is buy a Brita water filter for your tap. These cost less than 3,000 baht. You are also buying a filter jug Where water filter bottle both cost less than 2,000 baht and can save you thousands of dollars over a year. You can buy them online at Lazada.
Some people don’t like the taste of plain water or the flatness of still water. The answer is to buy a soda maker which allows you to make sparkling water at home. If you don’t like plain water, you can buy flavored syrup like Teisseire from Villa Market and add it to sparkling or still water. This will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also reduce the number of plastic bottles you use.
Beach cleaning are one of the best ways to keep plastic waste from entering the ocean, killing wildlife, and entering the food chain. A newly formed Facebook group called Phuket beach cleaning Started by Brad Barichievy, a recent transplant from South Africa, it’s easy to help keep your local beach clean.
You should also boycott the major bottled water producers and their subsidiaries. These included Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle.
Several major cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Paris, London and Amsterdam, have installed water fountains and water bottle filling stations in their cities to provide free, clean drinking water to their citizens. You can find them using the Mymizu app which lists 200,000 water refill stations in the world.
In 2019, Patong took the Plastic smart city commit to eliminating its plastic waste by 2030. The installation and maintenance of clean water refill stations along the beach would help achieve this goal.
A simple solution to keeping cigarette butts off the beach we use in Kamala is to tie a used metal box of oatmeal (plastic bottles will burn) to a nearby tree or bench. Smokers often congregate in the same areas and when given the option of using an ashtray, they usually do. This has kept thousands of cigarette butts from the beach and from entering the oceans.
If Phuket is to continue to be a world-class destination, it needs a clean ocean with clean beaches, which means it needs to step up its game in solving its plastic waste problem.
Palmer Owyoung is an environmental activist who works with the Kamala Green Club and the Global Sustainability Hub.