Bottled Icebergs

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On a hot summer's day, you can't beat a tall glass of ice water to cool things off. In the far northern regions of Canada, the people of Nunavut are hoping that a glass of iceberg water might be even better.

The plan is to harvest icebergs that have calved off nearby glaciers, melt them, bottle the water, and market it as clean drinking water to those who crave a taste of the Arctic. The project, which was put together by the Qikiqtaaluk Corp. and Pure Berg of Canada, would in part benefit the indigenous Inuit people who have inhabited the region for thousands of years.

Matthew Spence, the development manager, explains that iceberg water is free of any modern pollutants because it was frozen 10,000 years ago, at least in some cases. Although Spence himself does not care for the distinctive taste of the ancient water, he reports that he has had a positive response from several Asian nations, and particularly from the health food sector.

The corporation will pay $200 a ton for icebergs, which break off the glaciers by the thousands during the summer and float into Cumberland Sound and Davis Strait. The ice will be hauled onto ships, stored in waterproof containers, and transported to bottling plants.

If iceberg water catches on somewhere - anywhere - Spence predicts that a bottling plant could be built locally providing a year-round flow of iceberg water and needed jobs to local people.

Nunatsiaq News
Linda is responsible for the PERC web sites, media relations, the national journalism conference, and the media fellows program. She is author of Forest Fires, part of a series of  environmental education books for high school students. She also wrote and produced Square One, a newsletter that introduced grassroots environmentalists to market...
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