A great New York Times op/ed piece on how bottled water is not really better for you, and how it’s an enormous waste of money and natural resources. Here’s the real kicker, though:
Clean water could be provided to everyone on earth for an outlay of $1.7 billion a year beyond current spending on water projects, according to the International Water Management Institute. Improving sanitation, which is just as important, would cost a further $9.3 billion per year. This is less than a quarter of global annual spending on bottled water.
More than 2.6 billion people, or more than 40 percent of the world’s population, lack basic sanitation, and more than one billion people lack reliable access to safe drinking water. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of all illness in the world is due to water-borne diseases, and that at any given time, around half of the people in the developing world are suffering from diseases associated with inadequate water or sanitation, which kill around five million people a year.
Let me point out that not only could the cost of clean water be easily covered by not buying bottled water… but we’ve spent upwards of 300 billion dollars in Iraq. That’s almost 30 times what it would cost to make sure every human on earth had clean water, eliminating 80 of all the illnesses in the world.
That’s what we could have done with the money we’ve spent killing people in an illegal, unethical, pointless war.
What else could we have done with that money? Heck, for $46 billion, we could give every American health care insurance. And technically, it wouldn’t even cost that, because once all Americans were insured, the insurance overhead and medical administrative costs would go down.