Will San Francisco Become America’s First City Without Bottled Water?

san francisco bottled water ban

A San Francisco official has proposed a ban on bottled water that would be one of the strictest in the nation.

When’s the last time you attended a sporting event, concert, or parade that didn’t have bottled water for sale? If San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu is successful, this could soon describe every event held on public property in his city.

Chiu recently proposed a strict ban on bottled water sales in San Francisco. The legislation would “gradually phase in a ban on the sale of bottled water of 21 fluid ounces or less on all city properties with leases signed after 2014 and at concerts, large events, parks and food trucks,” reports the Huffington Post.

Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste each year. According to The Water Project, plastic water bottles take more than 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, produce toxic fumes.

“Given our access to incredibly healthy clean and tasty Hetch Hetchy water, which is some of the highest quality municipal tap water in the country, it just doesn’t make sense for us to have this addiction to plastic water bottles,” Chiu told the San Francisco Examiner.

At first, the ban would apply only to sites that already have alternative water sources, such as drinking fountains, eventually extending to all events on San Francisco property. By 2016 the ban would also apply to outside vendors as well, explains The New American.

Although it would be the most aggressive, the San Francisco bottled water ban wouldn’t be America’s first. In January 2013, Concord, Mass., became the first U.S. community to outlaw single-serving plastic water bottles. Although significant, the Concord law carries only a $50 fine for stores that violate the ban (and there is an exemption for emergencies).

The proposed San Francisco ban would start October 2014 for new leases, including renewals, and permits for vendors in public parks, including mobile food trucks, reports NACS Online. By 2016, no one would have license to sell or give out water bottles at events held outdoors on public property.

As one might expect, the International Bottled Water Association is not pleased with the idea of a San Francisco bottled water ban. The IBWA claims that banning bottled water will have a negative effect on public health, stating: “Efforts to eliminate or reduce access to  bottled water will force consumers  to choose less healthy drink options that have more packaging, more additives (e.g., sugar, caffeine), and greater environmental impacts than bottled water.”

What do you think? Does the San Francisco bottled water ban infringe on consumer rights? Or is it a necessary policy in a world that’s literally swimming in plastic waste? Tell us in the comments.

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Image: stevendepolo