Editorial: Plastic Bottles are Destroying Our Earth

Janet Jenkins, Reporter

“38 million plastic bottles go to landfill each year in America alone,” stated Aqua Organization. Plastic water bottles are clearly harmful to the environment, and humans are to blame.

According to Pacific Institute, it takes 17 million barrels of crude oil to make so many plastic bottles, which is enough to fuel a million cars going for 12 months. Crude oil is also used as fossil fuels that produce C02, which contribute to climate change. But this is only what it takes to make the bottles itself, not including the resources it takes to package and sell them. 

In the Huffington Post, Norm Schriever describes plastic water bottles as “poisonous time bombs.” This is because it could take plastic bottles centuries to degrade since they are made of polyethylene terephthalate. This type of plastic photodegrades instead of biodegrades, so it breaks down the bottle into smaller pieces over time instead of being reused back into the earth. 

A case done at Case Western Reserve University says, “five percent of the bottled water purchased in Cleveland fell within the required fluoride range recommended by the state, compared with 100% of the tap water sample, all of which were within 0.04 mg/L of the optimal fluoride level of 1.00 mg/L. Use of bottled water based on the assumption of purity can be misguided.”

This shows that despite regulations, many bottled water companies are slacking in terms of their safety standard. They also only have to test their water once a year, whereas tap water gets tested every week. Additionally, bottled water companies are not required to report their findings of their annual studies, while tap water findings are required to be released, which adds a layer of suspicion and mystery around bottled water production. 

Using plastic water bottles has serious consequences for the environment and human health. Action needs to be taken as soon as possible. 

A five percent tax should be imposed per plastic bottle in order to motivate people to think about their purchasing choices and hopefully exchange them for reusable ones. That being said, reusable bottles should be made cheaper so more people would be inclined to buy a safer alternative. 

Lastly, it should be required to put labels on all plastic bottles to list all of the possible health issues that could develop from drinking it. If people realize that these bottles are not only now more expensive, but can also lead to health problems, they will be discouraged from buying these plastic poison time bombs.