For Immediate Release - July 16, 2019
Wellington Water Watchers
unveiled a billboard yesterday on Gordon Street, just north of Nestlé’s bottling plant in Aberfoyle. The billboard directs the public to the Wellington Water Watchers website www.wellingtonwaterwatchers.ca
and asks people to send Premier Doug Ford a letter demanding a full Environmental Assessment of water bottling by Nestlé and other commercial water bottling operations in Ontario
The Ontario government’s current process to review applications for permits to take water for bottling:
• fails to recognize water as a sacred and public trust;
• does not guarantee consent consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP);
• fails to recognize the increasing threat of climate change to availability of drinking water
• does not adequately assess the cumulative impact of water taking on groundwater
• does not assess the environmental impact of plastic pollution from discarded bottles
• does not assess the health risks of micro-plastics in drinking water
“The Ontario government is ignoring important issues when reviewing Nestlé’s application to renew their permits to extract water” states Dr. Robert Case, chair of Wellington Water Watchers. “An Environmental Assessment is necessary to allow full public debate of all the social and environmental impacts of water bottling. I am confident the results will support our larger demand to phase out permits to take water for bottling in Ontario”.
“Water is for life, not profit” says Karen Rathwell, retired educator, long time Guelph resident, and WWW Board member. “Water should never be for sale. Water is a human right and a public trust”.
“Permits to take water for bottling are being granted without prior, free and informed consent of Indigenous peoples' organizations” says Arlene Slocombe, Executive Director of WWW. “The Six Nations Band Council, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council, the Chiefs of Ontario and the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians have all declared their public opposition to permits to take water for bottling. In fact, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council issued a ‘cease and desist’ letter on June 7”.
Wellington Water Watchers calls on the Ontario government to suspend the current process to review applications to renew permits to take water for bottling and instead designate them for an Environmental Assessment.
An Environmental Assessment of applications to renew permits to take water for bottling will allow for the necessary public debate of the full range of social and environmental impacts of water bottling in Ontario.
Nestlé has bottled 2 billion litres of water in Aberfoyle, Ontario since 2016 when its permit to take water expired. If all of that water was packaged in 500 ml bottles it would equal approx. 3.3 billion bottles. Laid end to end that number of plastic bottles will reach 16 times around the circumference of the Earth!
The most generous estimate* says only 49% of plastic beverage bottles are recycled in Ontario. This means approx. 1.7 billion of the bottles produced by Nestlé in the last two years resulted in landfill or litter.
(* Based on an estimate in a CM Consulting report that that 50.5% of PET bottles in Ontario are not recycled)
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About Wellington Water Watchers: Founded in 2007, Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization based in Guelph, Ontario. Committed to the protection of water resources and public education, WWW works to affect local water policy and protect water sources. WWW also sponsors and supports guest speakers, debates, and are active at bottled-water free community events.