Health Department Blows $400,000 on Bottled Water


As the environmental problems associated with bottled water gain more attention, the industry has begun to suffer a backlash.

waterPhoto by Alex Anlicker

Pundits are attempting to make drinking bottled water the new smoking, with the British environmental minister even calling bottled water “daft” and bordering on “morally unacceptable.”

With public sentiment swinging against bottled water, many are quick to jump aboard the anti-bottled water bandwagon and make it the hot environmental issue of the day. Many government officials in the UK are quick to adopt anti-bottled water policies, and every government department has been told to switch to tap water.

It’s a measure of how important the environmental movement is becoming in politics that the government is throwing one of its own departments under the proverbial bus for not switching to tap water.

A new report by food and farming non-profit Sustain, titled “The Taps are Turning”, has highlighted the UK Department of Health’s bottled water use that has so far cost taxpayers £200,000($400,000). In the grand scheme of government that’s a drop in the bucket, but if you consider that waste is solely from using bottled water you begin to see the issue. The report was meant to show the environmental problems caused by bottled water in greater detail, as well as highlight the money wasted on the product.

The Department of Health was singled out for abuse because it is the only government department to not have a clear policy switching to tap water. The report mentioned a variety of healthcare equipment and procedures that could have been paid for if the department hadn’t used bottled water. This included more than 235 cataract operations, 14 baby incubators, or 34 hip replacement surgeries.

Jeanette Longfield of Sustain said: “It is crazy that the Department of Health is pouring away money buying unnecessary bottled water, which is not only a rip-off but also damages our environment. Organisations like the Department of Health are dinosaurs. We have found that world cities – such as San Francisco, Paris, New York and London – are turning on to tap water”

In general she’s correct. San Francisco has banned bottled water from all its government departments. The Mayor of London has taken a similar step. The future will tell if these gestures are sincere or another form of government greenwashing.

Info from Guardian

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