Bottled water tax repeal could hurt the environment

How about encouraging the use of refillable containers instead?

Commentator Robi Rawl of Sugar Free Kids Maryland recently called for repealing the state's 6 percent tax on bottled water ("Repeal water tax," Feb. 23).

But his argument that lifting the tax will make bottled water more affordable, and therefore lead to kids being less obese, is only partly true.

Yes, reducing the cost of a bottle of water by 6 cents is a tax cut. However, it is unlikely to influence many to youngsters to purchase water instead of a sugary drink.

Moreover, Baltimore tap water costs less than a penny a quart. One could use refillable plastic or metal containers and save considerably more than 6 cents.

During my family's involvement with youth sports, I have seen coaches and players bring refillable squirt bottles, jugs and cups to a game. It is rare that a coach will supply throwaway bottles for the team.

By repealing the tax, Mr. Rawl expects citizens to purchase more plastic bottles of water, even though waste plastic is one of the biggest polluters of our streams and waterways.

I would prefer a larger tax or deposit on such bottles to reduce pollution, while at the same time encouraging the use of refillable containers.

Mark Filar

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