On Monday, March 23, Thunder Bay City Council unanimously adopted the three Blue Community resolutions making Thunder Bay Canada’s 17th Blue Community.
The Thunder Bay Chapter of the Council Canadians would like to thank and acknowledge the leadership of Mayor Hobbs and City Council for confirming Thunder Bay as a leader in the preservation and protection of our shared water resources. We would also like to thank all the citizens and organizations who supported Thunder Bay becoming a Blue Community.
Maude Barlow offers her congratulations and looks forward to coming to Thunder Bay to present Mayor Hobbs with our Blue Community Certificate as soon as her busy schedule allows. Mayor Hobbs, a former Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) said he will be putting the Blue Community Project on the next GLSCI meeting agenda and encourage members to become Blue Communities. Our Chapter will continue to work with our national office and supporters to promote the Blue Community Project in our region and around the Great Lakes.
Wby Thunder Bay is a Blue Community
- Blue Communities recognize the human right to water, promote public water and waste water services and ban (phase out) bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events where tap water is easily available.
- Blue Communities in Canada include Ajax, Amqui, Burnaby, Comox, Cumberland, Mississippi Mills, Nanaimo, Niagara Falls, North Vancouver, St. Catharines, Thorold, Tay Township, Tiny Township, Victoria, Welland. Tsal’alhmec in BC is the first Indigenous Blue Community.
- 750 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, most of them children; 126 First Nation communities in Canada lack access to clean drinking water .
- Looming water crisis; demand for water is rising while the supply diminishes.
- In 2010, the United Nations adopted a resolution recognizing the human right to water.
- The $178 billion bottled water industry views water as a commodity to be sold to those who can afford it; this is in direct conflict with the human right to water.
- Canada recognized the human right to water in 2012.
- Blue Communities are calling on the federal and provincial governments to enshrine the human right to water into law and a national action plan to ensure everyone in Canada enjoys this right.
- There is no green way to bottle water; bottling water devastates watersheds when water is removed from its source.
- Bottling water consumes massive amounts of groundwater at a time when 20% of Canadian communities have experienced water shortages.
- It takes 3-5 bottles of water to make a bottle of water; 25% of bottled water is tap water.
- It costs $2.00 for 591 ml bottle of water from a vending machine compared to less than a cent for the same amount of tap water.
- The private water industry pays less than $4.00 for a million litres of water in Ontario and sells it for up 2 million dollars.
- Bottled water is 2000 times more energy intensive than tap water; more than 100 million barrels of oil is consumed annually to produce, transport and dispose of bottled water.
- Less than 50% of plastic water bottles are recycled; 10% end up in our waterways.
- There are health concerns about chemical additives in plastics, especially for children.
- The federal government is aggressively pushing privatization as a prerequisite for funding for major water and waste water infrastructure (P3’s) rather than providing public funding for a national water infrastructure fund.
- This, despite the evidence that P3’s are more expensive, risky, less effective and not accountable to the public.
- Fortunately for us, Thunder Bay has already invested in high quality public water and state-of- the- art public water and waste water services.
- Thunder is a recognized leader in providing safe, clean, affordable tap water.
- Our tap water is highly regulated, constantly monitored and tested thousands of times a year; the results are made public.
- Bottled water industry is largely self-regulated and test results are not made public.
- Bottled water factories are supposed to be inspected every 1-3 years; only 6% were inspected between April 2008 and March 2009.
- In 2009, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities urged its members to phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities.
- 84 Canadian Municipalities, 2 Territories, 7 School Boards and 66 Post Secondary Educational Institutions have banned/restricted bottled water.
- In 2010, the City of Thunder Bay banned the distribution of bottled water in its facilities where tap water is easily accessible. The sale of water was to be discouraged.
- Over the past 5 years, the City has made tap water more easily accessible in existing municipal facilities; new buildings have water fountains and some have refillable water bottled stations.
- The City has an ongoing tap water awareness program and provides water bars at public events.
- Becoming a Blue Community supports water justice, resists the corporate takeover of our shared water resources and helps to create a more healthy, clean and green community and planet.
- “Say NO to Bottled Water – YES to Superior!