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A proposed San Francisco law could make a major positive impact on the environment, or it could be yet another example of nanny-state government. It all depends on which side of the “bottled water ban” you fall on. At an environment commission committee meeting Monday, city officials will debate whether events at San Francisco parks, festivals and streets could become bottled water free. Instead, events could have reusable bottles which could be given away or sold. The event would then provide access to municipal water sources.
According to the San Francisco Examiner, the average American drinks 30 gallons of bottled water each year. In an effort to combat all of the waste those bottles create, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued a 2007 executitve order banning the city from purchasing bottled water. Environment Commissioner Ruth Gravanis conceived the proposal and believes banning bottled water at city events is an example of good government, not interference: “We’re not telling the private sector what to do or what not to do, but we can at least say if you’re going to hold an event on city property, you need to think of alternatives to single-serve bottled water,” Gravanis said.
Another state has already taken a more aggressive approach. Concord, Massachusetts completely banned bottled water this spring, though the attorney general struck down the law.
Count Tom Lauria on the side of those who think the city is stepping too far, the Examiner reports. Lauria, the spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association, said the proposal would “compromise people’s health in public situations when they’re thirsty....“The counterbalance to bottled water is recycling, not bans.”