Drinking bottled water is almost morally indefensible, a government minister has suggested in a scathing attack on the industry.
Phil Woolas, the Environment Minister, said it was daft that six million litres of bottled water were drunk every day in Britain when safe tap water was universally and cheaply available. His comments echoed concerns among environmentalists, who believe that the packaging, transportation and disposal of bottled water products creates unnecessarily high carbon-dioxide emissions.
Even the Shadow Minister leaps aboard this bandwagon:
He received unexpected backing from Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow Environment Secretary, who agreed that the industry and consumers had big moral questions to answer.
“I don’t think Phil Woolas is wrong,” he said. “Huge amounts are imported from other countries — some now ludicrously from the Far East. This is an ecological nightmare and it doesn’t make economic sense either. It certainly raises questions about the basis on which we have constructed our economic lives. By any rational standard it’s crazy to be importing water from countries far away when there’s perfectly good water in our taps.
“It looks like the epiphany of any unsustainable human activity. I think as consumers we should consider the impact we have on the environment. If they think about it they might change their behaviour.”
So, umm, how big a problem is it?
"Well, I\’ve worked it out, very roughly, you know, just some mental arithmetic and it seems that banning bottled water would save 0.008% of the UK\’s emissions over a year."
Vitally important, don\’t you think? It\’s about the same as the emissions from lager.
How did we end up being ruled by fuckwits?