Sam Judd
Comment on the environment from nzherald.co.nz columnist Sam Judd

Sam Judd: Should water be a basic human right?

46 comments
Image / iStock
Image / iStock

There has been uproar recently about the decision by the Ashburton District Council to sell off water from the aquifers at the rate of 45 litres per second to a proposed water bottling plant.

Local residents and Ngai Tahu are quite rightly complaining that the catchment is already over-allocated and that the council has not consulted with the public in making the decision to allow billions of litres to be taken, with a consent lasting all the way through to 2046.

I am sure none of you will be surprised that I am not a fan of water being put into plastic bottles. We remove thousands of them from the coastline and they are a plague to the environment.

Single-use plastic - the most commonly littered category of litter that enters our oceans - is eaten by fish and poisons the food chain as I have mentioned before.

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More than 67 million water bottles are thrown away every day and no - recycling is not an excuse to create these things that we simply don't need - only 10 per cent of them are actually recycled.

The fact that something can be recycled does not mean that it is a good product.

But even more stupid is the fact that plastic leaches chemicals into bottled water that many people are tricked into believing it is a healthier option. Have you ever tasted water from a plastic bottle that has been sitting in the sun in the back of a car? Or drank water from a garden hose that tastes strange? Don't do this - plastic leaches chemicals into water that can pose serious health risks.

I think we are far better off filtering water that comes through our tap and putting it into a stainless steel reusable bottle.

Filters such as those that HRV have been installing in schools are an excellent idea for ensuring that what we put into our body is clean.

If you want to help some of the people that need clean water the most, you can even join in on an adventure tourism mission with Childfund, who are taking people on a trek in a remote area of Vietnam, to install 100 water filters.

We have a carbon filter at our office, because the ancient water pipes around where we work need huge quantities of chlorine to be safe and it tastes much better that way.

I feel like we should be focussing on providing clean, filtered water to as many people as possible, because it is a basic human right. Not selling it off to an overseas company whose product will inevitably be polluting our land and people.

What do you think?

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