Strong Advocate Pushes For Ban in Vancouver

Published On April 1, 2015 | By Hannah Ellsbury | Articles

Kelly Newton loves how beautiful it is in Vancouver and she wants to keep it that way.

That’s why the 25-year-old, who was born and raised here, started a petition last week called “Take Back the Tap Vancouver” on Change.org to ban the sale of plastic water bottles with a capacity of less than one litre.Kelly Newton wants Vancouver council to prohibit the sales of plastic water bottles in the city.

The petition had more than 1,000 supporters Sunday, which also happened to be the United Nations’ World Water Day.

“I’ve grown up to appreciate the natural beauty that we have here and I want to do something to protect it and help Vancouver grow to be a sustainable city,” said Newton, a nurse who is also an avid hiker and boater.

Plastic water bottles are not part of Newton’s vision for Vancouver.

“As much as you would like to think people recycle their water bottles, three million water bottles end up in Metro Vancouver landfills every year,” she said.

“Vancouver has a new $800 million state-of-the-art water filtration system. We really do have great tap water. It’s just a huge waste of money to buy bottled water.”

Newton has already left Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson a voice mail about the situation and will present her petition to Vancouver council when she has enough signatures.

She will find a sympathetic supporter in Green Party councillor Adriane Carr.

“I think it’s important,” said Carr. “Water is only becoming more of a precious resource.”

There’s a ban on selling bottled water at City Hall, but Carr said Sunday the city’s power is limited.

“It’s not a possibility under our Vancouver Charter for us to ban the sale of (plastic) water bottles,” she said.

While the city’s jurisdiction is limited, bottled water is also sold at properties controlled by the Vancouver School Board and the Vancouver park board — where changes could be made.

Green Party park commissioner Michael Wiebe said he plans to give notice of motion at Monday’s meeting to propose ending the sale of bottled water at park board facilities and instead sell reusable water bottles that could be topped up at nearby fill stations.

But Wiebe acknowledged the board has a contract with Coca-Cola and there would have to be a transition away from the sale of bottled water.

“It wouldn’t be immediate,” he said of the proposed change.

Metro Vancouver board chairman Greg Moore said the regional district doesn’t have the power to ban plastic water bottle sales.

But Metro does have a Tap Water Campaign that promotes the use of tap water over bottled water.

There is also an app at TapMap.ca that shows residents where they can access water fountains and places to refill their water bottles.

[via The Province]

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One Response to Strong Advocate Pushes For Ban in Vancouver

  1. Chris says:

    I don’t understand the preoccupation on banning the bottle. Let’s agree to the principles of eliminating the waste as it has an expense shared by everyone for the choice of the individual.

    Isn’t that precisely the function of sin taxes?

    Here, Chicago has a $0.10 USD tax on bottles. That’s a step in the right direction. No one should feed their child a half liter of household bleach per year so leave open the possibility that tap water is merely less environmentally damaging at the expense of the consumer’s health.

    There is a middle ground. I buy a few bottles maximum every year, but I should be allowed to. And I should be taxed. But for 99% of my consumption I do that from filtered water carried in reusable containers. And if I am mobile and don’t wish to drink water suitable for lawn care and toilets, shouldn’t I have the ability to buy suitable drinking water?

    If the objective is environmental health, I’m 100% with you on the objective. But why ban? Isn’t a tax an effective limitation on a behavioral change that can happen soon as opposed to a longer battle to achieve only a marginally more effective outcome?

    Just my $0.02.

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