Last year, I was proud to be part of a coalition that gathered policy makers and community members to call on Members of Congress to cut congressional spending on bottled water. At the press event, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), George Hawkins (General Manager, DC Water), Mayor Bruce Williams (Takoma Park, MD), students from American University and many others highlighted the importance of supporting our municipal water systems and ending wasteful spending on bottled water.
Today, after reading Peter Gleick's article on the Huffington Post, I was appalled to learn that Senator Charles E. Schumer and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies plan to promote bottled water over tap at the Presidential Inauguration in January 2013.
Bottled water is bad for our environment, our pocketbooks and our public water systems. It certainly has no place at the Presidential Inauguration. For this momentous occasion, Senator Charles E. Schumer and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies need to Think Outside the Bottle and demonstrate their support for our most essential public resource.
Water is a basic human right. And when it is treated as a commodity, our democracy, health and environment suffers. Bottled water corporations have long attempted to change the way people think about water, manufacturing demand for what already safely flows from our taps. Decades of misleading marketing has led the public to doubt the tap and choose bottled water, stifling the political will to adequately fund public water. This has serious consequences. Historically, dedicated public support in the U.S. for public water has a prompted economic development and advancing leaps in public health and safety. We must ensure that there is continued, and stronger, investment in our public water systems.
Now is the time for our elected officials need to step up and promote our most essential public service: public water and public water infrastructure. Promoting bottled water at the Presidential Inauguration entirely sends the wrong message.
Tens of thousands across the country have already made the commitment to go bottled water free, including universities, 140 cities as well as a body of mayors representing over 1,200 cities, 6 states and the Grand Canyon! Furthermore, over 60 mayors have joined a call to the President and Members of Congress to reinvest in our public water systems. Senator Charles E. Schumer and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies must do the same.
Director, Think Outside the Bottle and Public Water Works!
Corporate Accountability International
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