London tackles plastic waste with water fountains

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan is upping the battle against plastic waste by announcing a new initiative to install drinking fountains and bottle-refill points across the city.

As the Guardian reported, 20 new drinking fountains will be installed across London starting this summer. Further fountains are also being considered.

A bottle re-fill initiative, which will see businesses make tap water available to the public, will also be set up across five areas in London over February and March. If successful, the initiative will be rolled out to the rest of the capital in the summer.

The plan, which will also phase out plastic cups, bottles and cutlery at City Hall, seeks to reduce the amount of waste created by single-use plastic. It will be put before the London Assembly’s budget committee on Thursday.

“We shouldn’t be using single-use plastics, the impact on the environment is so immense,” Shirley Rodgrigues, the city’s deputy mayor for the environment, told the Guardian. “We just need to get on now and stop their use in London.”

The latest plans follow through on recent proposals made by Khan to reduce packaging waste, improve access to tap water, and prevent biodegradable or recyclable waste from ending up in landfills by 2026, added the Guardian.

While the locations of the 20 new drinking fountains have yet to be confirmed, TfL tube stations and busy shopping thoroughfares such as Oxford Street are under consideration, according to the article. Bottle-refill points will be featured in an app, and businesses offering the free tap water to the public will display signs in their windows.

Paul O’Connell, a trustee of the Drinking Fountain Association, welcomed the plans, adding that other British cities like Liverpool and Manchester should follow suit.

“Obviously, summer is when demand for water goes up, so having [fountains] in time for this summer will help.”

Image credit: Indigo Skies Photography via Flickr

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