Mermaids Hate Plastic

Water. We cannot survive without it. Humans need it. Animals need it. Plants need it. Our planet needs it. Water comprises 55 to 75 percent of our body weight and covers just over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. But, like the air we breathe, it’s something we often take for granted. Yet it’s an essential component to our physical and mental well-being, and more than anything else we consume, it can affect our health and overall functioning—adversely when we don’t get enough. And unfortunately, most of us aren’t drinking enough.

Every year, the average American uses 167 disposable plastic water bottles … by the time they reach 75 years of age, that same American will have used more than 12,000—of which 9,000 will end up in landfills and oceans.

Is bottled water the answer?

VonWong_PlasticMermaid-1_Plastic_Tear-600x600In the U.S., bottled water has the second-largest share of the beverage market, beating out both milk and beer. (Coming in first is soda, which is consumed nearly twice as often as bottled water.) Problem is, while we want to encourage people to drink more water—be it from a water fountain or a bottle—the latter has become a huge environmental concern with nearly 80 percent of plastic water bottles ending up in landfills. It takes a lot of oil—as much as it does to fuel 100,000 cars for a year—to create the billions of plastic water bottles Americans use each year, not to mention shipping them all over the world, according to the Earth Policy Institute.

These environmental worries have prompted some schools to advocate a ban on one-time-use plastic water bottles and many are installing water fountains that double as filling stations making it easy for students and faculty to continually refill their own personal, reusable container. Similarly, in an effort to cut down on litter that leads to excess waste, 20 national parks, including the Grand Canyon, have banned sales of bottled water. The bottled-water industry is lobbying Congress to overturn the ban.

What about water fountains?

The International Plumbing Code thinks water fountains are, well, out of style. In their 2015 manual—followed by most all U.S. city planners—the authors recommend cutting the number of water fountains installed in new buildings by half. And although they only made this recommendation a few years ago, some builders have been steering away from water fountains for a while now.

In 2007, when the University of Central Florida built a 45,000-seat stadium, they didn’t put in one water fountain. Not one! The school claimed the fountains were too expensive and instead sold water bottles for $3 apiece. On opening day, temperatures soared, vendors ran out of water and 60 people were treated for heat-related illnesses. Consequently, the university installed 50 drinking fountains.

Americans use enough water bottles to circle the Earth 5 times!!!

Clearly, the water bottle vs. water fountain debate has many angles and it’s easy to find oneself agreeing, and disagreeing, with issues on both sides. 

Bottom line: Proper hydration is both a public and individual health concern. Parents, schools, cities … everyone has a responsibility to make sure clean drinking water is provided throughout the day for all children. And if reeducating people to use water fountains—be it for periodic sips or to refill a reusable bottle—is the key, then we need to do so. Of course the first step, as many would agree, is making sure the water we provide in those fountains is free—free and clear of pollutants as well as free to consume.

Photos courtesy Benjamin VonWong. Visit to learn more about his stunning photography, and why mermaids don’t like plastic. And I hope you’ll join me in taking the pledge to reuse and STOP the consumption of one-time use, plastic water bottles.

Read this article in its entirety at and learn more about how proper hydration is essential for a healthy body.

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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So my blog, Seafood is The New Black, is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. And over on Seafood in the Circle City, you can read up on my favorite Indianapolis restaurants that serve seafood, and serve it well. As you read along, you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—and some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

7 thoughts on “Mermaids Hate Plastic

  1. Huge issue facing our world. You cannot go anywhere and not find plastic bottles cluttering nature, lying everywhere, and the madness just continues. Thank you for taking such pride and concern for this topic.


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