Film teaches students about bottled water industry


By 2030, experts predict two-thirds of the world's population will lack clean drinking water, according to the 2009 award-winning documentary "Tapped."

The Center for Leadership and Student Engagement (CLCE) held a viewing of "Tapped" in the Marshall Student Center on Wednesday. The film, directed by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey, focuses on the negative effects the bottled water industry has on Americans.

“This film does a good job of addressing the issue and calling people to action … I'm a broke college student and use a reusable water bottle. After seeing the film, I intend to use it even more,” chemistry major Lisa Wallace said. 

The film opens in Fryeburg, Maine, where Nestle’s brand of water, Poland Spring, uses local reservoirs to perform a process known as water mining, in which the company pumps water from natural water resources in large quantities.

According to the film, the company spends 6 cents per gallon, but sells the water for $6 a gallon.

“This is the first event of its kind. We went about targeting student organizations that focus on the environment — Speak and Tampa Bay Professionals, to name a few,” Manal Benyamine, a chemical engineering major and board member of the Environment and Animals division of the CLCE, said.

"The water companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are hesitant, naive and ignorant about the issues surrounding bottled water. Change will come … Everyone has their passion, whether it's improving health, stopping cigarette smoking or reducing the impact of plastic pollutants, the passion is what drives change.”

The film addresses that people in these communities feel they are being robbed and have little to no say in corporations taking the water. 

However, the bottled water industry disagrees, as it argues it’s making the water better and ultimately safer for human consumption. 

“I had no idea that these corporations were taking water and money away from these municipalities and selling water back to the municipalities’ citizens for a higher profit,” environmental science major David Arlat said.

The film also discussed the plastic itself. From the factories making plastic water bottles — which the film links to sickness in the communities living nearby — to the number of bottles that end up in the oceans and effect aquatic life.

"If we involve students in these organizations in this cause,” Benyamine said, “it will show that we are all one in this fight.”