Campaigns urging municipalities to choose public water over bottled hype are heating up in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
The tour drew crowds and made headlines at every stop, creating momentum that could lead to a cross-Canada resolution being passed at this summer’s Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual meeting. The city of London, which has already banned the sale of bottled water in its buildings, decided to take the step after Barlow and Ryan’s visit.
Both campaigns are demolishing the bottled water industry’s spin. The industry tries to paint its product as safer, cleaner and environmentally-sound. But that’s far from the real picture. The industry’s PR machine has been in high gear, but it’s difficult to greenwash such an environmentally-unfriendly industry, let alone counter the facts about the more stringent testing and regulations that apply to public tap water.
Last summer, CUPE was part of a coalition that convinced the city of Saint John’s to stop offering bottled water at municipally-sponsored events.
CUPE is also working with its allies to protect and expand access to water in public facilities. In some buildings, drinking fountains haven’t been fixed or maintained – and new buildings are being designed without fountains. The situation is especially dire on campuses, where beverage exclusivity contracts leave corporations with a stranglehold on thirsty students and staff.