Drinking tap water is not always pleasant and not always safe. However, as scientists have calculated, the impact of bottled water on natural resources and ecosystems is many (many) times higher than that of tap water.
Drinking tap water may not be the tastiest water in the world. But bottled water has far more dire consequences for the environment.
Drinking bottled water has 1,400 times the environmental impact of drinking tap water, according to a study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
Scientists at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) have also calculated that if everyone in Barcelona drank only bottled water, this would lead to an increase in resource extraction costs 3,500 times ($ 83,900,000 per year) than if all these people drank tap water.
The study followed an increase in the use of bottled water in Barcelona, despite recent improvements in the quality of tap water in the city.
According to The Guardian, the U.S. alone requires 17 million barrels of oil annually to manufacture plastic bottles, so the problem clearly extends beyond Barcelona.
“I think this study could help reduce bottled water consumption, but we need more proactive policies to change that,” Cristina Villanueva, lead author of the study, ISGlobal researcher, told The Guardian.