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Fountain network aims to help Londoners ditch single-use plastic

Fifty new public water fountains are being installed across busy areas of the UK capital to help citizens use refillable bottles including at 20 rail and underground stations.

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The London mayor has announced the location of 50 new water fountains
The London mayor has announced the location of 50 new water fountains

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is partnering with Thames Water on a new water fountain network in the UK capital to help citizens ditch single-use plastic bottles and reduce plastic waste.

 

Fifty new public water fountains are being installed across busy areas of London, including at 20 rail and underground stations, as well as high streets, parks, shopping areas, business districts, large green spaces and other publicly accessible areas with high footfall.

 

Making it easy to refill

 

The average Londoner currently buys more than three plastic water bottles every week, according to figures from from ZSL #OneLess campaign, which amounts to 175 bottles every year per person. The mayor wants to encourage Londoners to use refillable water bottles instead.

 

Two will launch in Ealing this week, by the Hanwell Clock Tower and in Melbourne Avenue, with a further 50 delivered over the coming months in locations including Blackfriars station, Potters Field Park in Southwark and Russell Square in Camden.

 

The fountains are easily identifiable by a water droplet design and each one is fitted with a device to measure the amount of water dispensed to demonstrate the equivalent number of single-use plastic bottles saved.

 

A network of 28 fountains has already been installed through the mayor’s initiative with ZSL’s #Oneless Campaign. Two of the fountains in Liverpool Street Station dispensed 8,000 litres of drinking water - the equivalent of 16,000 water bottles - in less than one month.

“Delivering more water fountains in London is an important part of my work to help Londoners easily make small changes that will have a big environmental impact”

Londoners can also access free drinking water from more than 2,500 cafes, shops and businesses offering free tap water through the Refill London scheme, with participating outlets putting easily identifiable refill stickers in their windows.

 

“With plastics polluting our oceans and causing untold harm to life in our rivers and waterways, it’s vital that we all make changes to reduce plastic waste,” said Khan. “Delivering more water fountains in London and ensuring that our shops and cafes offer free tap water is an important part of my work to help Londoners easily make small changes that will have a big environmental impact.”

 

Impact on greenhouse gas

 

A recent report by the Centre for International Environmental Law and partners highlighted that plastic production and incineration adds over 850m metric tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere a year, the equivalent to the annual emissions from 189 coal-fired power plants.

 

In addition to contributing to climate change, plastic bottles have a negative effect on the natural environment, particularly marine life, and currently make up 10 per cent of all litter found in the River Thames.

The Mayor has reached out to other water companies including Affinity Water, Essex and Suffolk and SES Water, calling for them to make similar commitments to the water fountain programme in areas of London not served by Thames Water.

 

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