Bottled water has become a lifeline for the people of La Valle. A troublesome benzene contamination has left the tap water unsafe for consumption. Benzene -- an ingredient in gasoline -- can cause leukemia, anemia, and other life-threatening medical issues.
The water supply could remain tainted with harmful benzene for months, but the people of La Valle will remain hydrated because of a steady supply of bottled water. But every day, more environmentalists are targeting plastic bottles and calling for them to be banned.
Environmental activists want to forbid the sale of water bottles, just like the students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point have already done. Reducing waste is a good thing, but not at the expense of safety.
These activists are ignoring a key part of the solution: recycling. Water and soda bottles can be recycled in almost every curbside recycling program and made into new products.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has recommended that each family include bottled water in their emergency preparedness kits for natural disasters and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has attributed millions of illnesses to tainted tap water each year. We need bottled water. Increasing recycling rates is the best way to cut waste while keeping people safe.
James Bowers, Washington, D.C.