At around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning Nestlé pumped the 2 billionth litre of groundwater from their well in Aberfoyle since their water extraction permit expired in July 2016, advocacy groups said.
The United States-based company utilizes the well largely to fill 500ml plastic bottles and ship them outside of the area. The amount pumped since July 31, 2016 is enough to wrap the world 16 times with bottles.
The Council of Canadians and Wellington Water Watchers are demanding that the provincial government phase out the permits used all companies that produce single-serve, disposable bottled water permits.
No permits have been issued or renewed for extracting groundwater for bottling since the previous government introduced new regulations in 2017 — and permit holders are allowed to continue by applying for renewals, which Nestlé has done.
“Droughts, climate change and over-extraction are depleting our precious groundwater sources,” the Council’s Ontario representative Mark Calzavara, said in a press release.
“Bottled water is a frivolous waste of water and the impact of all that plastic is being felt around the world,” he continued, adding that “this has to stop.”
“About half of plastic bottles in Ontario are recycled but the other half ends up as landfill and litter,” said Mike Balkwill, campaign director for the Wellington Water Watchers.
“A majority of Ontarians support a phasing-out regardless of their political party affiliation.”
Bottled water, and single-use plastics in general, is a well-known issue in Guelph. Last year, the University of Guelph made the decision to ban most plastic straws and bags — and some movement has been made towards banning bottles.