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Blog Action Day 2010: I’m Not Drinking the Bottled Water in India.

October 15th, 2010 · No Comments · Experience, Tips & Tricks

Two adults and one child from the U.S. spend 27 days visiting India. Each adult drinks four liters of liquid a day and the child drinks two liters per day. One quarter of liquid consumed will be in the form of juice, beer, milk or soda in reusable glass bottles. The remainder of liquid will be consumed in one liter plastic bottles of water. How many plastic bottles will this family consume during their visit?

[(3 x 2) + (1.5)] x 27 = 203 one liter plastic bottles

As a tourist, drinking bottled water from a sealed bottled is a given in India. (Just like don’t eat street food.) While availability of water has increased¬†dramatically¬†in India, sanitation has not made the same progress. However, the environmental impact of drinking bottled water is significant including consumption of water and oil, CO2 footprint and waste.

What is the environmental impact of using bottled water for the above family? (per one liter bottle)
Water consumption: 3 liters
CO2: 0.5 kilograms
Oil to produce bottle: 0.33 liters
Weight of bottle: 34 grams

For the entire trip the potential environmental impact is:
Total water consumed = 609 liters, (Over 100 gallons that doesn’t go into the bottles.)
Carbon footprint = 152 kilograms CO2 (Same as driving 800 miles in my Prius.)
Total oil = 67 liters (About 400 miles in my Prius.)
Total garbage = 15 lbs and 4.6 cu yards (Enough to fill our refrigerator more than five times.)

What’s a traveler to do? On our upcoming trip to India, we are trying to avoid drinking bottled water by bringing reusable water bottles, a filter and a sterilizer. I’ll take tap water and run it through a filter to get the particulate matter gunk out. Afterward, I will use a Steripen to kill the creepy crawlies that can make us sick. It will be a hassle, but the environmental savings are almost enough to drive from Delhi to Mumbai. (It would get us to Nashik, the heart of India’s wine country.)

Filling our own water bottles.

Filling our own water bottles.

To learn more about Blog Action Day and global water issues visit:

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