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Smartwater controversy

JESSE TIFFEN As some of you may or may not know, a group of students after an arduous grassroots campaign

managed to dissuade the College from selling non-reusable water bottles in locations on campus thatoperate on flex dollars, according to an official statement released on the College website. This feat was immediately undermined by the school’s decision to continue to sell Smartwater, stating that by industry standards Smartwater is technically flavorless Gatorade.

In reality, the fact that Smartwater is “enhanced” with minimal amounts of electrolytes does not make it any different than the average bottle of Aquafina or eliminate any of the environmental implications of normal, non-reusable water bottles.

I’m sure Smartwater has some electrolytes in it, but the question is whether there are enough to make a significant difference in your workout. There is no real evidence to support the claim that Smartwater is somehow superior to tap water or any other brand of bottled water — not to mention calcium chloride has a distinctly salty taste, magnesium chloride is known to be bitter and potassium bicarbonate tastes slightly alkaline. Anyone who has had Smartwater knows it tastes the same as any other bottled water. If anything, Smartwater is a very clever marketing device. Asserting that “designer water” is somehow a sufficient supplement of minerals is like putting a drop of fruit juice in a glass of water and calling it a vitamin C supplement, let alone the fact that filtered waters such as Smartwater, Aquafina, etc. are often merely purified local water supplies and, therefore, will vary in “taste” from bottle to bottle. Those potentially hazardous chemicals and microorganisms of which they warn you are the same harmful things that the city works hard to remove before sending the tap to your home. If you are truly worried about replenishing your electrolytes, try eating a more balanced diet and look to absorb minerals directly from food sources.

On this college campus you really have no reason to question the safety of the water. The fountains are perfectly sufficient to drink from, and the school has worked very hard to install multiple filter stations all over campus. Everyone should take advantage of this privilege that much of the world does not have.

The same environmental implications of any other plastic bottled waters still stand. Eighty percent of the waste created by bottles ends up in landfills where they will either sit for thousands of years or be burned in an incinerator releasing toxins into the air. Some of that waste often ends up floating around in oceans releasing toxins into our ecosystem. There are currently nine million football fields roughly the size of Texas floating in our oceans. This is an environmental issue that should not even exist and could be easily fixed.

The fact of the matter is that it is unnecessary for our school to carry such a nonsensical product. Smartwater serves the exact same function as tap water and the school’s choice to continue to carry the product only undermines the hard work of the students who managed the campaign to eliminate them.

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