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Vancouver’s bottled water ban does not hold for Olympics

The Canwest News Service reports that, “Millions of bottles of water will be consumed during the (Olympic) Games in February, despite a vote last (April 23) by (Vancouver city) council to encourage use of municipal water and discourage the sale of bottled water…”
“Council voted last April to phase out the sale of bottled water at City Hall and other civic facilities, which include several Olympic venues, including the Pacific National Exhibition, where the 2010 Olympic figure-skating and speed-skating events will be held.”

The Council of Canadians helped secure this win by calling more than 1,000 of our members in Vancouver and asking them to contact their city councillor to encourage them to support the bottled water ban, as well as through an action alert directed at city councillors.

“Andrea Reimer, a Vancouver city councillor, said the city can’t stop water sales in buildings used for the Olympics, because the keys were handed over to the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee for the duration of the Games.”

“Municipalities, including Vancouver, voted down a decision in October to hire two water trailers, similar to Toronto’s HTO to Go program, from Metro Vancouver for live events. Reimer, who was in favour of the trailers, believes the idea got the thumbs down because of the recession (about $40,000 per truck).”

“Metro Vancouver’s water committee will continue to campaign against bottled water during the Olympics by asking hotels and restaurants to push tap water to those visiting from around the world during the Games.“

“An estimated three million plastic water bottles ended up in Metro Vancouver landfills last year.”

“Coca-Cola, one of the major sponsors of the Games, plans to sell more than seven million beverages during the Olympics. Advertisements for Dasani and Vitamin Water are plastered all over the city and athletes endorse the products.”

“Maude Barlow, the former United Nations senior adviser on water, opposes Coca-Cola’s Olympic sponsorship. She said the company is ‘notorious for depleting groundwater in areas of India and Latin America with scarce water resources,’ adding that water is a basic human right and should be free. ‘Coca-Cola is also at the forefront of promoting water commodification, as one of the largest producers of bottled water in the world,’ she said, in an e-mail.”

A critique of Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle at the Olympics can be read at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2209.

More on the Council of Canadians broader critique of the Olympics at http://canadians.org/olympics/index.html.