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LETTER: Campbell River chapter marks World Water Day

Joanne Banks

Joanne Banks

Council of Canadians Campbell River chapter activist Joanne Banks writes in the Campbell River Courier-Islander:

World Water Day, a United Nations sponsored event on March 22 is fast approaching. Nationally, provincially, regionally and here in Campbell River water issues keep bubbling up.

Nationally, the federal Conservative government refused to support the U.N. resolution declaring water as a human right; fortunately the majority of the world’s countries voted to pass this. For more information on this story, check out the award winning Council of Canadians documentary Water on the Table on Shaw T.V’s community channels in Campbell River (Channel 4) on March 22 at 5 p.m., March 26 at 5 p.m. and in Courtenay (date and time to be announced).

Provincially, the Liberal government wants to modernize the B.C. Water Act. Their proposed new framework introduces ‘water trading rights’ which basically means control of our water will be turned over to the market forces. This focus moves us in the direction of privatization and water as a commodity — a direction opposite to the U.N. resolution making water accessible to all, not just the highest bidder. If you want to continue to keep water publically accessible, you are still able to send feedback on the Water Act Modernization: http://blog.gov.bc.ca/livingwatersmart/2011/02/17/conversation-on-the-policy-proposal-extended-to-march-14-2011/# comments.

The hottest regional water issue right now is the multitude of applications to extract millions of litres of water daily for bottling from our coastal inlet streams. This huge amount of water removal could result in negative environmental impacts on the rivers, land and wildlife — especially in our time of reduced stream flow due to rapid climate change. Our Council of Canadians chapter and many other environmental groups and politicians have but one message to give B.C.’s Environment Minister, the Strathcona Regional District directors and city councillors: just say NO to this potentially destructive scheme to privatize our public waters and to build more bottled water plants.

Bottled water rears its ugly head again as another local water issue and here’s the lowdown. Bottled water is environmentally destructive and wasteful of the world’s water supplies. Millions of bottles continue to be dumped in the world’s oceans polluting them and killing an increasing number of birds and sea life that ingest broken down plastic chips from the discarded bottles. Vast quantities of water are used in the bottle manufacturing process. Bottled water is not cleaner or safer than tap water as it doesn’t undergo the vigorous testing that tap water is subject to. Given these facts, the Campbell River city council could build on their campaign of promoting our excellent drinking water by banning bottled water in city facilities. So how about it councillors, pass a resolution to ban bottled water in community facilities for World Water Day 2011. No more plastic in the oceans!

Joanne’s letter can be read at http://www.canada.com/City+should+bottled+water+sales/4446120/story.html.