Lifting the lid off bottled water 

Concordia’s TAPThirst brings awareness to World Water Week

Magnifying glass

Members of water awareness group TAPThirst stand beside the Tower of Consumption as part of World Water Week, March 20 to 27. The structure (which measured over 10ft. tall before the cold caused the glue to break) is made up of 150 water bottles retrieved from Hall Building garbage during only two hours of the R4 Waste Audit (see Journal, March 19).

"We were looking for a way to visualize the waste created around campus," said TAPThirst co-founder Laura Beach (middle, flanked by Julian verboomen, left and Fern Allie, right). "People should understand that each bottle they throw away adds something." Beach states that four out of five water bottles sold in Quebec end up in landfills.

The organizers of World Water Week (a joint projects of Concordia and McGill QPIRGs) described the events' turnout and interest as "amazing." On March 20, hundreds of people crowded into the Leacock Building at McGill to hear keynote speaker Michael Mercredi, a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan/Dene First Nation from the Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, community of some 1 200 aboriginals located downstream from the tar sands. Mercredi, a former oil sands worker, described how the development is killing people in his community by pollution and overusage of water during oil processing.

TAPThirst has recently received a Sustainable Action Fund grant to promote visibility of water fountains around campus and to raise awareness about wasteful bottled water production. (Did you know it takes three times the amount of water in a bottle to cool the plastic during its production?)

TAPThirst also highlights how wasteful consumption exacerbates scarcity and privatization of water elsewhere in the world. Coinciding with UN World Water Day on March 22, an international conference in Istanbul ended with a United Nations statement recognizing water as a "basic human need" rather than a "basic human right."

"The week was a catalyst to draw attention to bigger issues like the commoditization of a natural resource that should be a human right," said Beach.


Concordia University