Bottled water sales banned in Australian town

Residents of an Australian town have voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water.

Residents of an Australian town have voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water.

Of the more than 350 residents of Bundanoon, New South Wales, who voted, only one dissented, along with a representative from the bottled water industry, according to ABC News.

It was the second blow to Australia's beverage industry in one day — hours earlier, the New South Wales state premier banned all state departments and agencies from buying bottled water, calling it a waste of money and natural resources.

"I have never seen 350 Australians in the same room all agreeing to something," said Jon Dee, who helped spearhead the "Bundy on Tap" campaign in Bundanoon, a town of 2,500 about 160 kilometres south of Sydney. "It's time for people to realize they're being conned by the bottled water industry."  

Although bottled water is one of the most popular beverages on the planet, second in popularity in North America only to carbonated soft drinks, there has been a growing backlash.

The environmental harm of manufacturing plastic bottles and of their disposal has caused much anguish, and the quality of bottled water has come under scrutiny.

Test results released last October on leading brands of U.S. bottled water showed a variety of contaminants, including cancer-linked chemicals three times higher than California's health standard.

The two-year study by Washington-based Environmental Working Group challenged the popular impression — and marketing pitch — that bottled water is purer than tap water, the group said.

Over the years, a number of Canadian, British and American cities have decided to ban the sale of bottled water at city events and facilities.

Bundanoon's battle against the bottle has been brewing for years, ever since a Sydney-based beverage company announced plans to build a water extraction plant in the town. Residents were furious over the prospect of an outsider taking their water, trucking it to Sydney for processing and then selling it back to them. The town is still fighting the company's proposal in court.

With files from The Associated Press