Montrealers divided over mayor’s plan to ban bottled water

After Montreal’s mayor succeeded in passing a plastic bag ban Monday, he said his next target will be disposable plastic water bottles.

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Environmentalist Daniel Green thinks it’s a good idea.

“What did we do before (plastic bottles)?” Green added. “Were we dying in the streets from dehydration?”

At the same time, Green said he recognizes the need for some sort of multi-use bottled water, including for times when tap water becomes contaminated.

On Monday, the City of Montreal has issued a boil water advisory for the neighbourhoods of Cote des Neiges and Outremont.

And just last month, a hospital in Montreal recently spent five days without tap water after black particles were found. The particles turned out to be harmless copper oxide.

Some Montrealers said they have concerns about the loss of convenience if plastic bottles are banned, and questioned whether it was needed considering the plastic is 100 per cent recyclable.

The Canadian Bottled Water Association’s Elizabeth Griswold said that 72 per cent of them are diverted from landfills.

The Canadian Bottled Water Association also asserts that bottled water bans don’t work, because many people will simply switch to other plastic-bottled beverages like soda.

Environmentalists at the David Suzuki Foundation say that the negative impact of bottled water goes beyond the use of plastic, which can collect in oceans and takes more than 700 years to decompose. For example, bottled water contributes to climate change when fossil fuels are burned shipping it.

Montreal is not the first jurisdiction to target bottled water.

The Province of Manitoba banned bottled water sales from government buildings in 2011.

Some municipalities, including London, Ont., have done the same.

So too have some universities, including York University and Ryerson University in Toronto, and Memorial University in Newfoundland.

Ontario’s MPs voted against a Liberal back-bencher’s proposal in 2008 to ban bottled water and fine people minimum $500 for breaking the law. Premier Kathleen Wynne was among those opposed, arguing that bottled water was being in schools with unsafe levels of lead and an alternative to less healthy drinks in school lunches.

With a report from CTV Montreal’s Cindy Sherwin


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