CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell covered the debate over sustainability of PET water bottles yesterday, and while the report is worth a look, it also has some serious problems. With a "Ban the Bottle" graphic looming in the background, Velez-Mitchell tells viewers that she has an ally -- none other than 84-year-old Jean Hill, who led the effort to ban single-serve PET water bottles in Concord, Mass. (See PN's April 26 story, "Concord, Mass., voters pass ban on PET water bottles ") I enjoyed hearing what Hill has to say -- it's the first time I've seen her on camera. Her message is that the bottle ban in Concord is a big deal, and the media's coverage has been shallow. She's absolutely right about that. Velez-Mitchell is a little over-the-top, literally applauding Hill and saying "Thank you for leading the crusade against plastic bottles." But that's her opinion, so it's OK. But then the story stumbles by using some discredited information. Velez-Mitchell describes the garbage patch as "a giant mound of garbage ... bigger than Texas in the Pacific Ocean." That's hyperbole that's been discredited by ocean researchers. She also cites a website (thinkoutsidethebin.com) that says plastic debris kills 100,000 marine animals a year. Remember that one? I wrote last year about how Harold Johnson, a Saco, Maine, journalist and author of "The Flotsam Diaries" blog, researched and discredited the oft-cited number. Note to CNN: Interesting story, but don't believe everything you read on the internet.
CNN stumbles on water bottle story
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