Imagine you just spent the last three hours engulfed in a massive group of ecstatic people at a concert. It’s probably a good idea to hydrate; especially after the immense alcohol consumption. After waiting nearly 30 minutes in line for that cold refreshing bottle of water, you’re told that you can’t have it. They’re no longer for sale.
After the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted March 4 to approve the phase-out of plastic water bottle sales on city property, it is questionable whether the city will be able to efficiently quench its residents’ and tourists’ thirsts. Let’s please just be real with ourselves for a minute; it’s not going to work.
Remember in middle school, being so thirsty and having to drink from those crusty drinking fountains that were often clogged by a kid who thought it was funny to cover the drain with toilet paper? Or the fact that half of the fountains in school didn’t even work at all? If public drinking fountains aren’t efficient or maintained even in small settings like schools, there is absolutely no way adequate drinking fountains can be maintained in the chaotic city life of San Francisco as a replacement to plastic water bottles.
Aside from the maintenance, this alternative is completely unsanitary. There are people who don’t even know how to properly drink from a fountain and cover the entire spigot with their mouth. So if given the opportunity to take a sip from a public drinking fountain in the city, the answer is indefinitely no thanks.
The ban just makes less and less sense.
Since bottled soft drinks are not a part of this ban, consumers will likely look to the sugary alternatives to quench their inescapable thirst while they’re out and about. Considering the current contemplation to require warning labels on soda, it’s pretty safe to say that the city doesn’t want the burden of taking responsibility for a societal increase in health issues. In its entirety, San Francisco promotes healthy living— from local cold-pressed juices to donation-based yoga classes. It would be hypocritical of the city to misguidedly steer people away from the healthiest hydration option and toward the latter.
The American Beverage Association stated that the ban was “nothing more than a solution in search of a problem,” and that it is “a misguided attempt by the city supervisors to decrease waste in a city of avid recyclers.”
It seems nightmarish and all-around inconvenient to take plastic water bottles off the shelves. Banning the sales of one type of plastic bottle is not going to achieve the desired goal the Board of Supervisors wishes to reach. There is an entire community out there that still purchases tons of other single-use plastic containers. The city should focus on banning the sales of cigarettes and other things that directly affect people and those surrounding them before completely removing a fundamental method of water consumption.