Across the world, we use hundreds of millions of tons of plastic every year. Most of the plastic we create turns into waste that cannot be recycled. The phenomenon of single-use plastics is becoming an issue more than ever. Because they don’t biodegrade these plastics are ending up in our oceans and other waterways or buried in a landfill.
It is becoming clear that we have to make more responsible choices about our plastic consumption or risk our precious and limited natural resources. Some of the biggest culprits of plastic pollution are water bottles: used once and then thrown away.
Fortunately, the anti-single use plastic movement is gaining traction. Case in point: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, England, is proposing a three-year plan to tackle plastic waste in the city.
The initiative will see the installation of a network of drinking fountains and bottle re-fill points across the capital to encourage people to avoid purchasing single-use plastic bottles. Over the course of the summer this year 20 new drinking fountains will be installed across the city as a pilot project. In the meantime, businesses in the downtown core have committed to offering patrons free tap water to refill their bottles. If the program is successful it will be rolled out throughout the rest of the city in June 2018.
In order to encourage people to use the service, the city has developed a smartphone app, which can be used to locate bottle refill locations.
This effort comes in tandem with Mayor Kahn’s dedication to reducing packaging waste across the city as a whole. He has even submitted a proposal to stop all biodegradable or recyclable waste from being sent to landfill by 2026.
Even large corporations are on board. Network Rail, owners of most of the rail infrastructure across England was once opposed to installing fountains in their facilities. Following the proposal made by the city, they now agree to provide space for water fountains in their buildings.
This news from England is a promising glimpse into what the near future may hold for other jurisdictions across the world. Vancouver has recently initiated a similar project to ban the use of single-use plastic bags. We know that plastics are detrimental to the environment, and now is the time to take action through progressive policies that work towards a solution.
How would you feel about public water fountains across your city or town?
Latest posts by Cathy Boyce (see all)
- London to Install Drinking Fountains Across the City to Limit Single Use Plastics - March 9, 2018
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- Spotlight on the Falls Brook Centre: Part I - December 7, 2017