Federation of Canadian Municipalities Asks Members to Ban Bottled Water

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CBC News (Canada)

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Asks Members to Ban Bottled Water

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An estimated seven million plastic water bottles end up in Vancouver's landfill every year. (CBC)

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has asked Canadian cities and towns to phase out the sale and purchase of bottled water on municipal property.

The federation board of directors passed the anti-bottle resolution at a meeting in Victoria on Saturday.

The move carries no legal weight and aims simply to encourage municipalities to speak out against bottled water and avoid distributing it when possible.

"It's not a ban, we just try to educate our citizens that the water that you pay for in your city is good - use it," said FCM president Jean Perrault, the mayor of Sherbrooke, Que.

It takes a lot of energy to produce the bottles themselves, Perrault said, and despite being recyclable about half of the bottles sold end up in landfills - at a direct cost to local governments.

But there's also the personal expense, he said.

"Buying a bottle of water costs approximately $2.50. The cost to produce water in the city? I can fill up 6,000 little bottles for the price of $2.50," Perrault said.

Twenty-seven Canadian municipalities have already phased out the sale of bottled water on their properties.

Pam McConnell, a Toronto city councillor, described what goes on at Toronto City Hall. "You'd see glasses on the tables, you'd see jugs of water from the tap, you'd see people happily drinking them at their desks and committee meetings," McConnell said.

Ontario's provincial association of municipalities has also encouraged its members to use tap water, and 21 Canadian universities and colleges have created bottle-free zones.

"It's a way to say our water is good, our water is safe and our water is paid for,'" McConnell said.

with files from the Canadian Press

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