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San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors are poised to approve one of the strictest bans on the sale of bottled water in the nation. The ban would extend legislation passed in 2007 that forbids the use of city funds to purchase bottled water, and would make it illegal to sell bottled water of 21 fluid ounces or less on city property or food trucks, at large events, or in parks. If passed, the ordinance would move San Francisco further towards its goal of producing zero net waste by 2020.
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Earlier this year, Concord, Massachusetts became the first city in the U.S. to institute a city wide ban on plastic water bottles. However, with a population of 17,000, the area faced somewhat less of a challenge. San Francisco’s legislation, which will be introduced by Supervisor David Chiu next Tuesday, would not prohibit private business from trading in small plastic bottles of water. Rather, it would restrict the sale at events of more than 100 people (not including races), and on all city property and parks.
Not only would the ban eliminate the sale of thousands of plastic bottles annually, but it would also reduce waste and littering, and further efforts to improve access to potable water in public places throughout the city. Speaking to the San Francisco Examiner, Chiu explained: “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.”
If the Board of Supervisors passes the ban, it will be gradually enforced over the coming years; starting from October 2016, no person would be able to sell or distribute bottled water at outdoor events on public property. Additionally, from October 2014, any vendor signing a new lease for space on public land will be prohibited from selling bottled water. As the Examiner points out, this won’t impact AT&T Field for years (their lease won’t be up for renewal for about 50 years), but it will impact larger venues such as Pier 39 much sooner.
Predictably, the American Beverage Association, which represents companies such as Coca-Cola, are speaking out against the proposal. But as Chiu’s aide Catherine Rauschuber explained to Time Magazine, “Before 1990, there really was no bottled-water industry,” she says, “and we all managed to stay hydrated.”
Via Huffington Post