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San Francisco moves to pass ordinance banning bottled water

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Breanna Deutsch Contributor
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If you are visiting San Francisco, you should probably bring a Nalgene.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass an ordinance prohibiting the sale of bottled water at events held within the city’s borders, reports Reuters.

The mandate would apply to all 21 ounce single-use water containers, beginning on Oct. 1 2014 for indoor events and in 2016 for those held outdoors. Certain exemptions will apply to footraces and other athletic events. Food trucks and large nonprofits — including the annual Gay Pride Parade — are not obligated to comply until 2018.

The Board of Supervisors also encouraged the city to build more water refilling stations throughout the city.

According to the author of the measure, Supervisor David Chiu, limiting water bottle sales will help combat global warming.

“We all know with climate change, and the importance of combating climate change, San Francisco has been leading the way to fight for our environment,” said Chiu. “That’s why I ask you to support this ordinance to reduce and discourage single-use, single-serving plastic water bottles in San Francisco.”

Chiu characterized the popularity of single-use bottles as an addiction: “I want to remind people that not long ago, our world was not addicted to plastic water bottles.”

The water bottle ban is only the latest move in a string of efforts by the municipality to curb what it perceives as environmentally unfriendly practices, which included banning the use of plastic bags in stores and an aggressive recycling campaign.

Critics of the measure argue that limiting the sale of water will make it more difficult for the public to choose a healthy hydration option and consequentially people may buy sugary soft drinks instead.

“If people are at an event and they don’t have a reusable container in front of them, they’re going to look for a packaged beverage,” Christopher Hogan, a spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association, told Reuters.

“It really reduces people’s opportunity to choose the healthiest packaged beverage, which is bottled water,” he said.

The ordinance will not be delivered to Mayor Ed Lee to be signed until it receives a second approval from the Board of Supervisors.

If it goes into effect, it will be the strictest ban on the $65 billion industry.

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