In an attempt to “go green,” the city of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to limit the use of plastic water bottles on public property Tuesday. The initiative, which is awaiting approval by Mayor Edwin Lee, would take effect in October.
The initiative also calls for the city to stop using funds to purchase single-use plastic water bottles. However, there would be an exception for large events, like San Francisco’s annual Gay Pride Parade, where there running water is not readily available.
We see this as is a step in the right direction to create an environmentally aware society, and would like to see other cities in California follow suit. It’s a simple transition that can still have enough of a positive impact to make a difference.
This initiative, however, is only applicable on public land and does not restrict private markets from selling bottled water.
Even so, large water bottle companies are trying to fight the restrictions in order to protect the multi billion-dollar industry from a profit loss, according to an article in Reuters. They are arguing that if these bottles are banned from public buildings or events, people will turn to buying less healthy options such as soda.
While the companies have the right to be concerned about their business, we think there are bigger environmental issues at stake, as plastic water bottles have been proven to be detrimental to the environment.
If left out in the sunlight, plastic takes less than a year to biodegrade, according to HowStuffWorks.com, a Discovery Channel site. That sounds better than the myth that plastic never completely biodegrades, until we realize that little particles of plastic float in the ocean during the biodegradation process and our beloved sea critters ingest these toxic particles.
Throughout the years, people have left a giant carbon footprint on the environment, and it seems it has only been in recent years that people are becoming aware of the damage that’s been caused.
People need to try to mend the damage, but many don’t recycle or make changes to reduce waste. Hopefully the proposed initiative will help spread awareness of environmental issues.
In response to the critics who question the city’s decision, we would also like to bring up the fact that this is really not that different from the plastic bag ban that also began in San Francisco in 2007, and spread like wildfire to cities throughout the state, including Los Angeles and Long Beach.
At the very least, the proposed restrictions could help people to save a little bit of money by pushing them to purchase a reusable water bottle rather than a plethora of plastic ones.
Additionally, the funding the city will save by no longer buying water bottles can be reinvested back into the city, which can offer benefits on a larger scale.
We’re backing San Francisco on this one and hope to see this transition into the rest of California.
Besides, the restrictions could cause Lake Arrowhead to overflow, which may in turn solve the California drought crisis … we’ll admit, that’s a little farfetched but hey, you never know.