On the evening of Wednesday, February 22nd, the Net Impact Club of UMass put on a special screening of the documentary, “Tapped” at the Isenberg School of Management. The screening of this 2009 investigative film was meant to draw attention to the bleak long-term crisis that now exists in plastic bottle production and consumption.
The film includes first-hand accounts of people living near bottling plants that have contracted long term illnesses and examines the disturbing amount of plastics now present in our global oceans.
Jumana Saleh, senior member of Net Impact, helped choose this film to be shown because of the powerful message it conveys.
“It is very impressive how the film was able to emotionally effect people. I was really captured by its facts.”
According to the film, only one-fifth of water bottles are recycled. The film suggests that one deterrent may be the unwillingness of officials to expand the bottle tax to more states, which has already has proven effective in states such as New York and Connecticut. There is currently no five-cent water bottle redemption offered in Massachusetts.
Saleh stressed the alternatives to bottled water, saying, “I’m hoping students see the benefits of reusable water bottles and how much more sustainable it would be to not fear tap water.” Reusable bottles are available at the three convenience stores on campus and the University Store in the Campus Center. Investing in one of these can help trim the staggering 26 billion bottles that are disposed of each year worldwide.
“I believe water bottles should be removed from our campus. It might seem like a tough project, but I think it could happen over time”, said junior geography major Timmy Gardner. “I own a reusable bottle and I find it more convenient than constantly having to buy cases of water.”
According to its website, Net Impact UMass Amherst is a group of Isenberg School of Management students who use business to make a ‘positive net social, environmental, and economic impact.’ The UMass chapter is part of a worldwide network of business leaders who strive to change the world through business.
Saleh also added that Net Impact’s long-term goal is to completely eliminate plastic water bottles on campus. Similar measures have been taken at Washington University at St. Louis and Seattle University, where student efforts led to the banning of water bottles from vending machines and campus eateries beginning in 2009. Most recently, the University of Vermont just came to an agreement that would halt bottled water sales on campus beginning in January 2013.
As UMass continues to make strides in sustainability, water bottles may one day be a thing of the past on campus.