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Letter: Concord bottle ban would cap freedom of choice

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Concord has long been hailed the birthplace of liberty in America. And yet among this culture of embracing freedom, a misguided campaign threatens a basic civil liberty: consumer choice.

This is the third consecutive year of debate on banning the sale of bottled water in the town of Concord (“Third try for ban on water bottles,’’ April 1). Proponents of the ban will tell you bottled water is wasteful and harmful to the environment, and banning its sale will reduce unnecessary waste. Unfortunately, proponents of this overreaching measure fail to share with the public that Concord is a statewide leader in recycling its plastic waste. Proponents of the ban also naively disregard important long-term implications.

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First and foremost, banning the sale of a safe, legal product is a very clear example of government control of commerce. Prohibition is heavy-handed and goes too far. If you don’t like the idea of bottled water, don’t buy it.

As well-intentioned as it is, this fanciful idea that banning bottled water’s sale will wipe out its existence in Concord is short-sighted. The many people who like the taste, healthiness, and convenience of bottled water will go elsewhere to find it. They will inevitably buy other items outside of Concord, hurting local businesses, decreasing our tax base, and burning additional fossil fuels in the process.

This ban takes the most healthy beverage option off store shelves in a time when we face obesity and diabetes epidemics nationwide. Having raised five children, I cringe at the idea of schoolchildren being forced to drink sugar-laden drinks such as soda and juice because of restricted choices. And what of disaster preparedness or occasions when public water resources are compromised?

Enough is enough. This ban is not an appropriate avenue for attaining sustainability. When this issue comes to a vote this month, I hope Concord residents will support basic civil liberties and common sense and vote against the ban on bottled water.

Adriana Cohen

Concord
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