The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Dylan Penner, 613-795-8685,

UN Water Advisor Praises Toronto Bottled Water Ban

TORONTO, Ontario

The City of Toronto's bottled water ban and renewed commitment to
public access to water is a new milestone in the international struggle
against the commodification of water, says Maude Barlow, senior advisor
on water to the United Nations and national chairperson of the Council
of Canadians.

"The City of Toronto should be commended for its decision to stop
selling bottled water in public facilities. Water shouldn't be treated
like a product at all but as a public trust that we all share in
common," says Barlow. "When a city the size of Toronto recognizes this,
and recognizes its responsibility to improve access to public water
supplies, I think we can say bottled water's days are numbered across
Canada and perhaps even internationally."

Last night, Toronto City Council voted in favour of a resolution that
will ban the sale or distribution of bottled water at Civic Centres
immediately while authorizing city staff to work on removing bottled
water from all remaining City facilities by 2011. Meanwhile, the City
has dedicated to improve accessibility to public tap water. The Council
of Canadians is encouraged by the resolution, which has set a new
milestone in the struggle against the commodification of water and
passed by a wide margin in a vote of 30-13, despite heavy industry
lobbying efforts.

"This is simply about saying no to an irresponsible and redundant
product," says Meera Karunananthan, water campaigner with the Council
of Canadians. "The bottled water industry has spent millions trying to
convince Canadians to buy a product that we can get for free from our
taps at equal or higher quality in most places. The environmental
impacts of bottling water, and the fact that most plastic bottles end
up in the landfill, just add to the number of reasons Toronto, and
other cities across Canada, have voted in favour of bottled water bans."

On Monday, as the debate on the Toronto bottle ban got underway, the
Council of Canadians filed a complaint with Advertising Standards
Canada against Nestle's claim in advertisements that the bottled water
industry is the "most environmentally sustainable" industry in Canada.
The challenge, filed with allied groups, alleges that Nestle infringed
the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards requirements of honesty,
truth, accuracy, fairness and propriety in advertising. A decision on
the complaint is pending.

Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada's leading social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters across the country.

Office: (613) 233-4487, ext. 249