'World News' Hits the (Water) Bottle Again
It must be summer rerun season because the July 9 ABC âWorld News with Charles Gibsonâ report on bottled water sounded a lot like the one from a day earlier. For the second consecutive night, ABC aired a story criticizing the bottled water industry for the environmental cost.
âThere are billions and billions and billions of these [water bottles] that end up in landfills every year,â correspondent Ryan Owens said to an unidentified man drinking bottled water.
Owens beat up on bottled water, using the same line from the previous ABC report â that water bottles pile up in landfills and require a certain amount of resources to produce and ship. He quoted a mayor who has banned the bottles.
âWe just need to get away from these wasteful environmentally disastrous consumer habits that have been developed and get back to drinking water out of the tap,â said
But a spokesman from the bottled water industry just sees the industry as an easy target in the green craze because of its high visibility.
âPeople are scrambling and looking for ways to go green,â said Stephen R. Kay Vice President of Communications for the International Bottled Water Association to the Business & Media Institute. âItâs not a bottle versus tap water issue to us.â
Kay pointed out advertising expenditures for bottled water are among the lowest of all commercial products and consumers were choosing it at their own discretion.
âWhile all beverages have their role in a marketplace with an abundance of drink choices, consumers are choosing bottled water as a refreshing, hydrating beverage and as an alternative to others that may contain calories, caffeine, sugar, artificial colors, alcohol or other ingredients, which they wish to moderate or avoid,â Kay said in a press release in April.
Similar to the previous nightâs story, the ABC âWorld Newsâ quoted a restaurant owner â this time in the
âSeems kind of foolish to be serving water in glass or plastic bottles when we have great tap water here,â said Mark Pastore, owner of the Incanto Restaurant.
But Kay told BMI that restaurant owners also have the option of recycling instead of just âthrowing the bottle away.â That possibility was not mentioned by the restaurant owners or ABC News.
âBut most people donât [recycle],â said Owens. âOnly one in five of these bottles ends up at a recycling center like this. The vast majority, some 38 billion last year alone, end up at landfills where scientists can only guess could take a thousand years for them to breakdown.â
Bottled water is not the only packaged food product and âpackaging is an everyday fact of life in this country,â Kay said. He added that water bottles were high in demand by recyclers because they are easy to recycle and in most cases unlike other food packaging leave no residue.
Another argument detractors of bottled water use is the amount of energy it takes to ship. âExperts estimate it requires 462 million gallons of oil to ship and truck all those bottles to a store near you,â said Owens.
But bottled water is a highly regionalized product according to Kay. Whereas 25 to 30 percent of wine in the
The television network newscasts have been highlighting their environmental reporting in the wake of Al Goreâs âLive Earthâ concerts that intended to âcombat global warming.â
ABC âWorld Newsâ condemned bottled water for contributing to global warming on July 8. However, one of the most outspoken proponents of Goreâs movement, radical environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who called politicians âindentured servantsâ of the coal and oil industry at âLive Earth,â owns his own bottled water company.
âIt is a legitimate food product,â added Kay. âIt has a place in our free market economy.â