Posts Tagged ‘Bottled water’

David Graham joined us again on March 11 to talk about some of the transit issues affecting Guelph. In David’s estimation, the GTA West project still looks like it’s leaning toward building a new 400 series highway despite the fact that light rail transportation would be a far better solution. Unfortunately the Ontario Ministry of Transportation only seems interested in solutions that involve the building of another highway.

The good news is that the Go Trains will be coming to Guelph sooner rather than later. However, the bad news is that both Go and the City of Guelph think (at least, initially) the downtown railway station should be the only Go Train facility.

This seems completely wrongheaded particularly as it will entail building a 1200 car parking garage near the station where commuters will leave their cars all day why they head off to Toronto for work.

Surely it would make more sense to build a Park and Ride parking lot on the LaFarge property close to the highway network?

As well, commuters would have to pay parking fees downtown so that developers can get their money back. Whereas, at a Park and Ride parking lot parking could be free. This would clearly be an incentive for people to leave their cars behind and take public transportation.

Seems like downtown is looking at three new parking garages in the near future… which will do nothing more than hold cars all day.

I’m all for encouraging people to go downtown, but just to park their cars?

Check out David Graham’s blog for more on how we can cope with our transportation challenges… and why investing in real public transportation would be a good thing for all of us, not just for those in the business of building roads and parking garages.

Did I also mention that we discussed what could be a better use of the billions being talked about to bailout North America’s failing auto companies?

Can you imagine the public transportation network we’d have if we threw $3 billion at it instead of trying to keep the “Big Three” car makers alive for a few more months?

Personally, I’d let Chrysler go to the wall after the threats their joke of a CEO made about pulling out of Canada, if they didn’t get all they wanted.

Beyond transit issues… we aired a great interview with Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario, recorded on the Unbottle It tour with Maude Barlow, about why we should ditch bottled water and go back to the tap.

The Council of Canadians would like to highlight the number of individuals who are rejecting bottled water by collecting pledge signatures through their website.

To sign the pledge, visit: http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/World_Water_Day/petition/index.php

Stephen Fearing, Home from The Man Who Married Music
Stompin Tom Connors, The Flying CPR from The Stompin Tom Phenomenon

Listen to the show:

Read Full Post »

Transit and Transportation advocate David Graham will be joining us again on Royal City Rag on March 11.

Among other things we’ll be talking about the GTA West Corridor project and the proposed upgrades to the Hanlon Expressway. David also has some interesting things to say about the Go Trains coming to Guelph and why a true Park and Ride facility would be good for Guelph.

The show won’t just be about transit though…

We also have a great interview with Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario about why we should ditch bottled water.

Listen live on CFRU 93.3fm, Guelph’s Campus and Community Radio Station or after the fact via the website.

Read Full Post »

unbottle_smMarch 22 is World Water Day. To celebrate the occasion the Council of Canadians would like to invite you to sign the tap water pledge to show your support for public water.

Because water is a human right and a public resource, more and more Canadians are consciously choosing tap water over bottled water. So far, 24 municipalities have adopted policies to restrict the sale and purchase of bottled water. In addition, church groups, school boards, universities, restaurants and other institutions are choosing not to serve or sell bottled water in their facilities or at their events.

But the choice you make as an individual is important too.

The Council of Canadians would like to highlight the number of individuals who are rejecting bottled water by collecting signatures through an online tap water pledge.

To sign the pledge, visit: http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/World_Water_Day/petition/index.php

You can also show your support for public tap water by joining their tap water supporters’ gallery by sending a photo of yourself drinking a glass of water (or showing support for public water in other creative ways) to bluecommunities@canadians.org.

Set up a photo booth on World Water Day, March 22 and get members of your community to pose with a  glass of public water. They  will post the photos on our website shortly after World Water Day as part of our ongoing campaign to promote public water.

This World Water Day, help the Council of Canadians send a message to governments and the bottled water industry that people in Canada support public water!

For for more information on other ways to participate in World Water Day activities, please visit www.canadians.org/water.

Listen to why Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario, thinks we all need to dump bottled water and go back to the tap:

Read Full Post »

gasvbottledwater1The Unbottle It! Tour: Water as a Human Right

Fresh from her latest visit to Guelph to talk about why we should dump bottled water, Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and United Nations Advisor on Water, will be in Waterloo on Thursday January 22 2009, at the First United Church, 16 William St. W., Waterloo. She will again be accompanied by Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario.

If you missed the tour in Guelph, it would be well worth going along to Waterloo. Both presentations are well worth hearing.

The goal of this visit is to build on local successes at banning bottled water from schools and municipalities, promote new bans, work toward a provincial ban, and help link bottled water to the commoditization of water in people’s minds.

According to the National Office of the Council of Canadians:

 “there are numerous reasons to hate bottled water, including environmental and health concerns, but we’re going on tour to focus on the importance of public water and seeing water as part of the commons, not a commodity. And of course we’ll talk about the need for strong provincial and federal policies to protect water and ensure access to clean water for all Canadians.”

The evening presentations start at 7.00 p.m.

The Unbottle It! Tour: Water as a Human Right
Who: Maude Barlow and Sid Ryan
When: Thursday, January 22.
Admission: FREE
Presented by The Council of Canadians and CUPE Ontario

Read Full Post »

Here is the trailer for the new documentary movie, Blue Gold: World Water Wars featuring Maude Barlow based on the book Blue Gold by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke.

Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians and one of the world’s leading experts on the topic of water, has recently been appointed as senior adviser to the president of the Assembly of the United Nations. She will be in Guelph at the Norfolk United Church at 7 p.m. Wednesday January 14 as part of a 15-city tour of Ontario.

CUPE Ontario and the Council of Canadians co-sponsored the Unbottle It! Tour. Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, will also be speaking.

In every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an expediential level as population and technology grows. The rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth.

Corporate giants force developing countries to privatize their water supply for profit. Wall Street investors target desalination and mass bulk water export schemes. Corrupt governments use water for economic and political gain. Military control of water emerges and a new geo-political map and power structure forms, setting the stage for world water wars.

We follow numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water, from court cases to violent revolutions to U.N. conventions to revised constitutions to local protests at grade schools. As Maude Barlow proclaims, “This is our revolution, this is our war”. A line is crossed as water becomes a commodity. Will we survive?

Read Full Post »

Are There Water Wars in Our Future?
Guelph Mercury, January 12, 2009
Letter to the Editor by Brian Skerrett

Dear Editor – Is it just melodrama or sensationalism to hear about the possibilities of war over access to water?

Not according to some of the world’s leading experts in the field. The relatively minor disagreements in Guelph between groups such as the Council of Canadians or Wellington Water Watchers and Nestlé Waters Canada may be a minor glimpse of what is coming.

Milton Clark, a senior health and science adviser for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated: “We will in fact get into major water wars. You will see water wars coming in every way, shape or form. In the U.S. there are some leading politicians who have said the Great Lakes do in fact belong (to everyone) and all water should be nationalized — and this certainly is a concern.”

Clark also said, “Water issues that are currently emerging will develop into bitter conflicts in the not-too-distant future when those dry states become increasingly desperate.”

Ontario and Quebec have already signed an agreement that would ban bulk transfers of Great Lakes water to other jurisdictions, and they are now waiting for the eight Great Lakes states and U.S. Congress to finalize a similar deal.

One of the problems is that this ban on bulk transfers does not cover transfers of quantities of water in smaller packages, such as 12-ounce (355 millilitre) plastic bottles. And this leads to the current disputes over water-taking licences involving Nestlé’s plant in Aberfoyle.

Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians and one of the world’s leading experts on the topic of water, has recently been appointed as senior adviser to the president of the Assembly of the United Nations. She will be in Guelph at the Norfolk United Church at 7 p.m. Wednesday January 14 as part of a 15-city tour of Ontario.

CUPE Ontario and the Council of Canadians co-sponsored the Unbottle It! Tour. Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, will also be speaking.

A special Water Information Fair will precede the speakers, at 5.30 p.m. Representatives from some of the local groups who are working to protect our water resources will attend to distribute written material and respond to questions.

Those who attend will have the opportunity to have their questions answered or their answers questioned. It promises to be an exciting event that is vital to our times.

If you are even a bit skeptical about the seriousness of this issue, check YouTube’s “Blue Gold: World Water Wars.”

Brian Skerrett, secretary, Council of Canadians, Guelph

Read Full Post »

Yet another article that points out that bottled water may not be as good for you as tap water.

Its interesting to see how the companies now try to outdo each other by claiming their water to be the most pure. Marketing at its best!

Good to see that people are finally catching on to this scam.

Thanks to Dave Sills, Co-Chair from the Guelph Chapter of the Council of Canadians for sending this article on.


Is that bottle of water better than tap?: Research group says to go with tap water
Janet Conner-Knox, The Wilson Daily Times, N.C., October 21, 2008

If you’ve just started a new health regimen, and at the top of your list is to drink more water, there is news you might want to consider before you grab your favorite brand of bottled water.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit public health and environmental research group in Washington, D.C., said it could be healthier to get water right out of the tap.

A research team from the environmental group came to nine states, including eastern North Carolina, and purchased water from grocery stores and other retailers and found 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of eight contaminants in each brand.

Things like fertilizer residue and pain medication were found in some of the bottled drinking water.

The report took two years to complete and results were just published this month.

“Some of the brands had chemicals that exceed legal limits in safety standards the bottling industry has,” said Nneka Leiba, one of the researchers and an author of the report on the group’s Web site. “There were four brands contaminated with bacteria.”

Leiba said that is why EWG is asking the Federal Drug Administration to get involved and regulate water bottlers and to also enforce labeling bottles of water so consumers will know what they are getting.

“There is no way to know, at this point, if the water you get in a bottle is safe,” Leiba said. “There are ways to get around the rules that are in place.”

For instance, one method of purifying water is to use reverse osmosis. But Leiba said if the equipment is faulty, the results are the same — contaminated water. Bottlers are not regulated, so if their equipment breaks down, they can continue using bad equipment.

Leiba said they have found some water bottlers that let consumers know they used reverse osmosis but never told consumers that the water had contaminants because the equipment was broken.

Another loophole that bottlers use, she said, is if the company treats the water, they don’t have to write the source of the water on the label.

“Some people think they are drinking spring water, and it is treated tap water,” said Leiba.

She said 44 percent of bottled water is tap water any way.

During the laboratory studies, Walmart and Giant store brands were not distinguishable from tap water.

The report singled out Sam’s Club water stating it had exceeded legal limits for disinfection by-products (trihalomethanes) in some states.

The report said, “These by-products are linked to cancer and reproductive problems and form when disinfectants react with residual pollution in water.

Walmart’s corporate office issued an e-mailed statement and stands behind its bottled water and said they are puzzled by EWG’s findings.

The prepared statement said, “Both our suppliers’ tests and the tests from an additional external laboratory are not showing any amounts of chlorine or chlorine by-products. We’re disappointed that the EWG has not shared more details with us as we continue to investigate this matter.”

But said she Leiba feels stongly about the test results they got. She also said they were surprised the bottled waters looked so close to tap water, especially at the costs consumers pay for the bottled water.

Bottled water, unlike public utilities, are not required to notify their customers of the occurrence of contaminates, she said.

The U.S. EPA Web site (EPA2007b) states: “Bottled water is not necessarily safer than your tap water. Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste, of a certain method of treatment.”

But the people from LeBleu, whose water was not on the list of contaminated waters, said that customers can be assured quality every time they take a swig of LeBleu water.

David Muller, warehouse supervisor in the Wilson office, said Le Bleu uses a five-step process to make sure they are giving their customers the cleanest water in the industry.

“We filter our water twice, then we steam it,” he said. “As you know, boiled water is pure water.”

Muller said that after the steam process, they discard the other water.

Muller said they run an ultraviolet light through the water at that point.

“That UV light will kill anything that could have possibly survived the steam process,” he said.

After that, he said the Le Blue folks oxygenate the water, which means they run electricity through it. Muller said water from lots of other water companies will turn green if left out in the sun for long.

He said it’s because other companies leave live organisms in the water that begin to grow in the sunlight.

He contends that Le Bleu water will not turn green if left in the sunlight.

The study on bottled water said that even the plastic bottles are not safe.

“That’s because the chemicals in the plastic gets into the water once the water sits in the plastic container,” said Leiba.

What Leiba and other scientists in her group recommend is for consumers to drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water.

Leiba said not only is filtered tap water safer, it costs less, too.

“Americans pay an average of two-tenths of a cent per gallon to drink water from the tap,” said Leiba. “A carbon filter at the tap or in a pitcher costs a manageable 31 cents for a gallon of water. Where else can you get a gallon of water for 31 cents?”

She also recommends buying a stainless container to carry water in,instead of a plastic bottle.

Read Full Post »

James Gordon joined us to chat about Maude Barlow’s visit to Guelph June 3 to present the documentary Flow: For Love of Water as well as the Wellington Waterwatchers AGM that takes place the same night. We also talked about the Guelph Civic League’s Spring Fling Dance Party taking place May 30.

James delighted us with three live songs, our theme “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”, “Scam of the Century” (about bottled water” and “Our Future’s on the Line”  (about the bylaw that prevents home owners from putting out a clothesline rather than using an electric clothes dryer).

In the second half, two students from the Community Environmental Leadership Program (CELP), Leslie Bothwell and Nathan Dyck joined us to talk about their training with Al Gore to present “An Inconvenient Truth” as well as CELPs efforts to decrease their own carbon footprint, and that of their school bus through tree-planting.

Chris Brown and the Citizens band: “Oblivion” from “Oblivion” and the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Benefit CD “At the Barricades Volume 1”

The audio for this show is no longer available on the website.  If however you wish to hear it again, please contact us at info@royalcityrag.ca. Thank You.

Read Full Post »

I received this from the city this morning. Its encouraging to see a clear message has been sent that residents of Guelph expect the city to be a leader in waste management. We can debate whether the city was ever truly a leader in waste management. Some would say, yes. I would say, that in less you continue to walk the talk, it doesn’t matter what you say.

I particularly like the idea of a Reuse centre where you could drop off and pick-up items. Getting rid of the fee you need to pay to drop off bulky items would also be helpful. It would also discourage dumping.

Anyway, I’ll try and follow up with a live interview sometime soon. Health permitting, a visit to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre (formerly Wet-Dry Recycling Centre) would be very interesting.

Is anyone out there aware of when the name change occurred? Rebranding is great but if there is no real change in what goes on, does it ever mean anything? Or is this just part of the corporate rush to appear as Green as possible?

The city should have an educational program out there focusing around the 3Rs; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I’d like to see the city develop interactive programs for both primary and high school students. You’ll get more traction by encouraging our young people to take this information home to their parents. I’d also like to see the university doing more. I still feel like a lot of what they do in this area is lip service rather than anything more substantial. They want to be leader, the too need to be encouraged to go the extra mile.

Which reminds me, when is the university going to make a real push to get a reusable water bottle into the hands of its students and cut the dependence on bottled water? There’s no time like the present to look good doing this.

Please note that there will be a Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) Open House in early June. A good opportunity to put pressure on the city to be as innovative as possible in this area.

Here is the news-release:

GUELPH, ON, May 8, 2008 – The results of a recent telephone survey indicate strong community support for waste diversion, with 68 per cent of residents in favour of Guelph exceeding the provincial waste diversion goal of 60 per cent. An additional 27 per cent of residents support meeting the provincial waste diversion goal.

Four hundred randomly selected Guelph residents participated in the solid waste management survey, conducted by Oraclepoll Research Ltd. earlier this spring. Participants were asked to provide feedback on various waste reduction, diversion and disposal options being considered for Guelph.

Findings reveal Guelph residents largely support a number of waste diversion options, including improved multi-residential recycling and composting programs, three-stream receptacles in public spaces, and a reuse centre that would allow residents to drop-off and pick-up household items.

Survey results also confirm that residents want Guelph to be a leader in waste management. More than 90 per cent of respondents agree that the community needs to reduce the amount of waste it produces, reuse more materials, and divert as much waste as possible from landfill.

Findings from the survey will be used by the steering committee as it begins to evaluate the list of waste diversion and disposal options. The recommended options will be presented to the community in early June when the City hosts its second Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) Open House. The SWMMP will guide the future of waste reduction, diversion and disposal in Guelph for the next 25 years.

You can find more information about the SWMMP, including the waste management survey summary, here.

You can take read the full survey results here.

Read Full Post »