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Plastic water bottles and natural disasters 

I am writing in response to the article about SLO plastic bottle ban in the Jan. 5 issue, “SLO city looks to go plastic bottle-less.” The concern I have is the availability of bottled water during an emergency or disaster. 

From experience in disasters and military service, bottled water is an essential item in emergency response. Tap water can be unavailable due to power outage, ruptures, or contaminants. Single-serving-size bottled waters are more convenient to transport, as you can stack them. 

Imagine carrying a 5-gallon container for a mile, when you only need to provide for five people—bottled water makes much more sense. Since initial disaster response falls under the responsibility of local government, there has to be a contingency supply on hand. Even if bottled water is stored at a storage location for just that purpose, there is a possibility that it may not be accessible, due to the nature of disasters. 

I agree that plastic bottles pose a waste and pollution problem, but recycling efforts seem to have increased. Also, the ban would impact the low-income and homeless population, who rely on aluminum and plastic recycling collection for income. 

-- Charles Bird - San Luis Obispo

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