Published: June 22, 2017

    Pelican Water Sustainability Scholarship 1st Place Winner: Brooke Wayman

    Last semester we received numerous excellent submissions for our bi-annual College Scholarship Contest, but one entry stood above the rest in its systematic and holistic approach in arguing against the widespread public acceptance of purchasing bottled water. Using an enthusiastic approach to research and presentation that sets her apart from her fellow students at Central College of Florida, Brooke Wayman won us over with her succinct and actionable essay. We are proud to name Brooke Wayman as our 1st place scholarship contest winner.

    Brooke Wayman is earned her Associate Degree in the Arts from Central College of Florida in the winter of 2016. In the words of her professor, Dr. Shoumen Palit Austin Datta, Wayman displays intelligence, diligence, and “is thoughtful and values community above self… [Brooke] provides leadership and inspires others to aspire.” The $1500 prize will assist Wayman as she continues her educational pursuits at the graduate level. Read her sustainability scholarship entry below.

    I personally strive to buy less bottled water even now so if I knew how it affected the environment I would be spurred to help others realize the dangers of bottled water. There are many reasons not to buy bottled water. The main reasons are cost, harm to the environment, and harm to the body.

    The first reason to not buy bottled water is the cost. Water is one of the most abundant substances on earth and yet people pay to have others bottle this cheap material and then charge exorbitant prices. Some individuals cite reasons such as high water quality and easy availability for buying bottled water but these reasons can be easily debunked. Many brands of bottled water are not unique as proclaimed and in my opinion not very tasty. They have almost a sweet mineral taste which is not pure clean water. Some brands are even tap water.

    Easy accessibility is another bottled water myth that can be easily demystified. There is nothing easy about having to go twice a week to a store and get big packs of water to cart home and somehow store. A better alternative would be to check if the water in the faucet is suitable for drinking. If it is, a person could get empty jugs and fill them up and put them in the fridge to drink, all in the comfort of his or her own home. If the faucet water is unsuitable for drinking a simple water filter could be purchased and attached to the faucet to make it clean. It would cost a little more than water but would pay for itself in less than a year.

    The second reason, and the main one that is discussed is the harm to the environment. Even though this reason is the most widely talked about of the three, it is still the most important. We are the highest organism on Earth and as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. We need to do our part to keep the environment in working order. Because we are so powerful, we have great destructive power but also great resourcefulness. Not buying bottled water is one way we can help protect our world. Water bottles are rarely disposed of properly and so end up in nature where animals can attempt to eat them and get sick or trapped and the chemicals can leak into the ground and ruin the land. Also, water bottles can liter the environment and can detract from its beauty.

    The third and last known reason for not buying bottled water is the potential harm to our own bodies. Many plastics are composed of harmful chemicals and when a person drinks the water in the bottles, the chemicals then leach into his or her body. The whole body works as a connected system so what happens to one part of the body affects the whole. I believe that drinking bottled water has led to a rise of diseases such as cancer and respiratory issues.

    There are many easy and affordable ways to reduce the amount of caustic bottled water. One is to drink water at home from the tap and when going out take reusable bottles. For trips, it is good to freeze large reusable bottles of water and put them in the cooler along with food and filled personal bottles. The frozen bottles act like ice to keep food and drinks cold and when the bottles thaw, the water can be used to drink.

    We only have one home- planet Earth- and it is our job to keep it healthy and in tip top shape. Not using bottled water is just one way to reduce our impact on our world. Hopefully more people will realize the cons of using bottled water and the world will become a better place.