Flint, Michigan continues to make national headlines, three years after government officials decided to switch the city’s water supply from the Detroit city water to water from the Flint River, in an effort to save money. Ever since, residents have had to suffer from lead-poisoned water and the crisis has yet to be resolved. An unpublished study recently found fetal deaths in Flint increased by 58 percent during the crisis.
To make matters worse, The Guardian recently uncovered the fact that food giant, Nestlé, pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles in Evart, Michigan – which is just two hours away from Flint – and sells the bottles over the midwest for around one dollar. How much does Nestlé have to pay to access this natural resource? $200 per year. And that’s just an administration fee. This is all while some Flint residents are paying upwards of $200 a month for water that’s not even drinkable.
And now Nestlé wants to pump more water from Michigan. Nestlé recently filed a permit application to pump 210 million gallons per year from Evart, a 60 percent increase, and for no more cost than it pays today, The Guardian reports. Within the next few months, the state will decide whether or not to grant Nestlé the permit.
Nestlé brought in $92 billion in sales in 2016 and $7.4 billion from water sales alone, yet the company still pays next to nothing for the 150 gallons per minute they pump from the ground. With the number of children with elevated lead exposure doubling, why isn’t Nestlé using their power for good and helping fix lead-ridden pipes in Flint?
And this isn’t the first time Nestlé has taken advantage of natural resources during a time of water scarcity. For the past 20 years, Nestlé has pumped tens of millions of gallons of pristine spring water from the San Bernadino National Forest during California’s drought, and bottled it as Arrowhead 100 percent Mountain Spring water, using a permit to transmit water from the National Park Services that technically expired in 1988. Unbelievable.
There is absolutely no need for Nestlé, or any other company, to take precious freshwater resources and bottle them for sale. No matter how you look at it, bottled water only continues a cycle of waste, from the water needed to process and bottle product to the creation of MORE plastic bottle waste, this industry is nothing short of an ecological disaster.
If you haven’t already, STOP purchasing plastic water bottles. Pick up a reusable one and it will not only save you money in the long-run, it will also save your conscience and end your support of Nestlé. We certainly hope that more awareness for this issue will persuade Nestlé to either help out and provide long overdue relief to the residents of Flint – or convince the Michigan government to reassess their priorities! There is absolutely no excuse for this.
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Image source: Daniel Orth/Flickr