In efforts to boost sales of the suffering bottled water industry, trade organization, The International Bottled Water Association, has launched a campaign against what it calls “anti-bottled water activism on college campuses.”
Titled "Student Activism: 101," the video campaign addresses what it calls "a freedom of choice issue" over whether or not campuses have the right to ban the sale of bottled waters. The video compares the issue to how students used college campus in the past to protest against war, racism and other social injustices like Darfur and sweatshop labor.
IBWA President of Communications, Chris Hogan, said the restriction of bottled water removes the students’ freedom to choose packaged water and that "is a serious issue." Citing it as "one of the healthiest beverages available in vending machines," Hogan called the restriction a step backwards, "especially with the growing rates of obesity and diabetes in the U.S.”
With more than 90 college campuses now either banning or restricting the sale or distribution of bottled water, the IBWA has also launched a 'pro-bottle' internet campaign urging consumers to sign a petition and assert their "rights'' to bottled water.
The issue over the sale of bottled water is complicated by several factors. Not only is the cost of the bottles deterring some purchases, but growing concern over chemicals like BPA—common in plastic—have redirected consumers to tap water and reusable containers made from less harmful substances.
But the industry insists bottled water is the victim and the real culprits are the sugary bottled juices, sodas and teas, which not only contribute to human health issues, but also have bigger carbon footprints than bottled water because of the use of a denser, heavier plastic than those typically used in bottled water.
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