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Wednesday, 20 February 2008


20th Feb 2008

Phil Woolas, our Environment Minister, is right when he says "it is morally unacceptable to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on bottled water when we have pure drinking water, and at the same time one of the crises that is facing the world is the supply of water". What's wrong with tap water, at least in the UK? Despite being a committed European I am not so sure about "eau de robinet" in both Brussels and Strasbourg. However, I happily drink tap water in London without, as far as I know, any serious consequences.

Bottled water costs 1000 times more than that from the tap. It is also environmentally very profligate. The plastic bottles have to be manufactured, usually from an oil based project. The product then has to be distributed. To make matters even worse, in many cases it is not possible to recycle the offending plastic.

Of course bottled water is necessary where local supplies are not drinkable. However, across most of Europe boiling or filtering are more than adequate where the water from the tap is not quite up to standard. I filter and boil water in Brussels. It really presents no difficulty - not much different from making a cup of tea.

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