Free water for sale
By Brittney Rooney
Imagine you walk into a store and lined up by the counter are small containers. You go to look at the container, and you see a beautiful depiction of white clouds in a clear blue sky.
The label says it is the cleanest, smoothest, and freshest oxygen available, and it only costs $2.50!
Later you research it on the internet and find out that this company sucks the air you breathe everyday and sells it back to you. “What a waste of a few dollars!” you think.
Then you read that the area in which the company takes all of its air is in major shortage. Because they don’t have enough clean air to breathe, they are forced to buy it from the company that took it from them originally.
This seems absurd. It would never happen. Regarding oxygen, maybe not. However, it happens everyday with the privatization and sale of bottled water.
Often the biggest argument against the sale of bottled water is the plastic. However, plastic water bottles are not just about the plastic.
Although in itself, it is not great for the environment, but that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the privatization of water.
The problem is that large companies are going into areas, taking the community tap water supply, and selling it back to them. They are making billions of dollars every year by taking what was already free to them.
The university chooses not to sell cigarettes on campus. This choice is not a restriction of rights of students but rather a decision in sales the university makes.
Loyola’s campus is not non-smoking. Just as no one forces smokers to put their cigarettes out, no one would chase anyone with a plastic water bottle off the campus.
The Student Environmental Alliance is currently encouraging Loyola to end its sale of bottled water on campus.
Steve Polaskey, the SEA co-president said, “Bottled water is an injustice. It is an economic, environmental, and social injustice.”
“By supporting the bottled water industry, you are supporting a system that says it is okay to take what is not yours and make money off of it—a system that says you can make a mess and not worry about cleaning it up. And Loyola should not support that kind of system.”
Because of Loyola’s Jesuit foundation and commitment to justice, selling bottled water is hypocritical. An amendment to Loyola’s contracts with Armark and Coca Cola needs to be made.
As Loyola strides to make big green steps toward sustainability, in a sort of competition with other universities, the biggest strike it has is its bottled water sale. Seattle University, Portland State, Macalester, Oberlin, and Washington University in St. Louis, to just name a few, have already successfully stopped the sale.
The entire student environmental alliance needs to convince the administration that they have the support of the university in order to successfully stop the campus sale of bottled water.
As Polaskey put it, “Save your money, save your souls, and sign our petition!”
Brittney Rooney is a copy editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.