25th August 2010 by

Environmentally speaking, August has been an especially turbulent month. Just as BP’s Gulf of Mexico fiasco moves slowly out of the headlines, hundreds of Muscovites died from the heat as wildfires swept across Russia, China experienced its worst landslide in decades, and an estimated 20million people have been affected by the floods in Pakistan. Meanwhile, a 100 square mile of ice departed Greenland, and we are told by scientists at the Met Office that the first 6 months in 2010 indicate that we are facing the hottest year on global record.

Wowzer! What a bleak apocalyptic picture to brighten up your day! As always though, Otesha is full of innovative ideas for you to confront this doom and gloom. This month’s challenge exposes the bottled water industry’s perfect con: bottled water (watch the story of bottled water for more info). Whilst the ‘Bottled Water Information’ website informs us that ‘bottled waters offer the ultimate in traceability, health, convenience and choice, as well as providing reassurance that they come from fully sustainable sources,’ the site’s run by the British Soft Drinks Association (a lobbying group representing the soft drinks industry) suggesting that your health, convenience and the apparent sustainability of bottled water isn’t exactly their main priority.

Despite the fact that access to clean drinking water constitutes a basic human right, over 1 million deaths are caused by waterborne diseases every year. 1.1 billion people are without access to clean drinking water, and yet the bottled water industry represents an estimated market of US $22 billion: enough to supply the world with clean drinking water.

When we waste our money on this unnecessary commodity (marked up by a whopping 2000%), we not only create the demand for the production of plastic bottles in an energy and oil intensive process, but for them to then be transported to our shops. Your challenge this month is to drink tap water.

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