Green in the City

H2O goes with the flow

The case for glass bottles

Why risk plastic chemicals leaching into your water when there is an alternative? You can reuse a glass bottle and drink water from it. You will also be reducing the amount of plastic in landfills by using glass water bottles. Plastic water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Reuse your sources; after all you are the one being affected by this.
Amairani Galvan

10 ways to save water

* Fix any leaks around your house.
* Install low-flow showerheads.
* Use a barrel to harvest your rainwater.
* Cut one minute of your shower every day.
* When washing dishes, use a sink full of soapy water; don't let the water run.
* Fill your pool a few inches lower than usual.
* Clean your driveway or sidewalk with a broom, not a hose.
* Start a compost pile instead of running your garbage disposal, which requires a lot of water to start properly.
* Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save four gallons a minute.
* Insulate your water pipes.
Amairani Galvan

By Amairani Galvan

When you’re taking a sip of that thirst quenching water, stop and ask where it came from.

If you’ve bought that expensive bottled water, the kind that promises the cleanest and most refreshing water, you might think you’re safe from all that bad bacteria.

Well, think again.

Plastic bottled water can be just as bad as your common tap water, sometimes worse, because plastic bottled water is just like your common tap water.

Yes, some bottled water comes from springs, but most of the time it comes from public water sources.

You may never know that because bottlers are not required to list their water’s sources.

In 1999, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) tested more than 103 brands of water (totaling 1,000 bottles). The council found that at least in one sample, a third of the brands contained bacterial or chemical contaminants, such as arsenics.

Some of these carcinogens exceed state or industry standards.

Phthalates (esters of phthalic acid added to plastics to increase their flexibility) have also been found in bottled water. They are known to cause malformed fetus reproductive organs and low sperm counts.

Chicago is known to have the safest drinking water. But, according to recent research, it might not be as safe as we think it is. In a recent Chicago Tribune article, environment reporter Michael Hawthorne found that traces of sex hormones, painkillers, DEET insect repellent and, even anti-cholesterol drugs were detected in Lake Michigan water.

Tests also found very small amounts of antidepressant Prozac and sulfamethoxazole, which is an antibiotic.

"The tests also found caffeine, nicotine and cotinine, a nicotine byproduct, all of which researchers consider to be indicators of pharmaceuticals from human waste," according to the article.

But there is not enough to justify whether we need a treatment plan for our water, says the Chicago Tribune.

We are still better off with tap water because the cost is a major difference. The average price of bottled water in the U.S. is $10 a gallon, while a gallon of tap water is only $0.1.

According to a 2007 story by Chicago Sun-Times reporter Janet Rausa Fuller: "Americans spent nearly $11 billion last year on bottled water, making it the nation's second-favorite beverage, after soft drinks."

So the question is: Is it worth the money?


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Bushra Kabir, Northside College Prep

Bri'anna Moore, Waukegan High School

Managing editors

Brenda Becerra, Curie High School

Amairani Galvan, Farragut Career Academy

Photo editors

Jasmine Johnson, Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Kimani Smith, Noble Street College Prep

Multimedia editors

LeJohn Montgomery, Hales Franciscan High School

Morgan Selvage, King College Prep

Contributing reporters

Carissa A. Eclarin, Schurz High School

Vivianna Galvan, Farragut Career Academy

Daniela Jurado, Farragut Career Academy

Safiya Merchant, Lane Tech High School

Demetria Taylor, Lindblom Math and Science Academy

Chad Wilson, Lindblom Math and Science Academy

Professional staff
Nancy Day, chair, Journalism Department, Columbia College

Workshop director:
Brenda Butler, media specialist and former Chicago Tribune senior features editor

Rui Kaneya, managing editor, The Chicago Reporter

Maudlyne Ihejirika, assistant city editor, Chicago Sun-Times

Charlie Meyerson, former Chicago Tribune online editor, now WGN-AM news director

Billy Montgomery, reporter, photographer, professor, Columbia College

Lynn Norment, former Ebony Magazine managing editor, now media relations specialist, Carol H. Williams Agency

Antonio Olivo, immigration reporter, Chicago Tribune

Nancy Traver, professor and writing coach, Columbia College

Avis Weathersbee, former Chicago Sun-Times assistant managing editor, now blogger and writer/editor

Cassandra West, former Womanews editor, Chicago Tribune, now writer and photographer

Mike Zajakowski, picture editor, Chicago Tribune

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