State spends $200,000 on bottled water
According to a new report released today, the state of Maryland spent at least $200,000 on bottled water last year.
The report, called Getting States Off the Bottle, was released by Corporate Accountability International, a membership nonprofit that calls out corporations on their "irresponsible and dangerous" actions.
The group says water bottling companies scare the public into drinking only bottle water that fouls the environment and burdens the budget. But in about 44 percent of cases, bottle water is tap water. At the same time state and local governments are buying into the companies' PR campaign that local tap water is unsafe, the governments are failing to invest in proper upkeep of water infrastructure, the report says.
The report authors have taken a look at state bottled water expenditures -- though a real look is tough because a lot of the water purchases are hard to track. This is the second installment of the report and includes five states. Maryland is one. The others are Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon. The range of spending was between $78,000 and $475,000 during fiscal '09.
“Plastic water bottles are a major contributer to waste in our stream, rivers, and bay.” said Mary Roby, executive director of Herring Run Watershed Association, in a statement. She participated in an event to draw attention to the bottled water today in Druid Hill Park. She and others called on Gov. O'Malley to cancel state spending on bottled water.
Supporters say more than 100 cities and three states (Illinios, Virginia and New York) already have cut spending on bottled water or upped their contribution to public water.
Corporate Accountability International says officials in Gov. O’Malley’s office have said they will work on reducing spending on bottled water and continue to invest in public water. Already the state has funnelled $119 million in stimulus money to water quality and drinking water projects in the state. The group says public water systems across the country need about $22 billion in investment.
The group also wants other public workers -- and the public -- to cut bottled water use in non-emergency situations. Officials there say surveys show a third of people who had switched to bottled water have recently switched back.
Are you one of them?
MCT file photo