Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bottled Water Waste Gallery

About a month ago I wrote about embarking on a little visual experiment - documenting everyday bottled water plastic waste.  Here's my first report in the form of a slideshow...

The most interesting thing about the experiment so far has been the discipline of it.  It takes discipline to  consciously be on the look-out for waste and to be prepared every time to photograph and document it.  Admittedly there have been times since I began back in May that I have lacked that discipline and thus there are days where I just forgot to look.  Most of the time though, the biblical counsel, "Seek and Ye Shall Find," is holding true.

The discipline of this experiment I find helps to keep the important issue of our campaign on water in focus for me.  Everytime I pick-up a bottle I am reminded of the destruction of our planet in the name of greed and the smearing of it's beautiful face in the name of lazy ignorance.

Speaking of lazy ignorance, my favourite photo so far is this one I took en route to church in our neighbourhood.

              The recycling bin is right there! Actually, the person would have saved energy by recycling it, saving themselves from having to bend over to neatly stand the bottle by the pole.

These photos are not extreme, they are a part of our everyday existence.  Bottled Water waste has become a subtle mainstay of the urban environment.  Well, at least in Canada it's subtle.  In many other parts of the world, not so much.  Sr. Clare, who toured with us from Timor Leste, explained that waste management (inc. recycling) capacity is sorely lacking in the capital Dili. This, mixed with the fact that if you want to have access to clean water you have to buy it bottled, means A LOT of plastic waste liter. As blogger Edward Rees wrote, "Dili’s population has grown by 33% in just 6 years……  from 175,000 in 2004 to 235,000 in 2010. That is quite startling.  In 1975 only about 20,000 people lived in Dili.  It also accounts for alot more beer cans, sewage, plastic bags, discarded water bottles and human waste."

Bottled Water companies are quick to trumpet their recycling achievements in developed countries.  They are less vocal about what happens to the bottles sold in their "emerging markets" (aka countries with growing demand for water where access to clean drinking water is an issue).  I guess they would say what a local government in such a country does with its waste is not their problem....

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