UK water fountain petition garners one signature every 3.6 seconds

A campaign to see a national network of public water fountains installed across Britain gleaned 30,000 backers in its first 48 hours. 

silver faucet with water droplets

Organised by Ocean Bottle, a social impact company with cross-party political backing, the idea focuses on reducing the £1.6billion spent on bottled water each year in the UK alone. Equating to 5.5billion plastic bottles sent to resource-hungry recycling plants, or worse still headed for landfill, incinerators, or the sea in the form of litter, the current provision for those looking to refill reusable vessels is sorely lacking. 

According to a study conducted by Ocean Bottle, in London there are 19,000 people to every public water fountain – fewer per head of population than Ancient Rome. 74% of adults in the country claim they regularly go for one day without seeing a water fountain, with the rise in summer heatwaves contributing to an increase need to stay hydrated while out and about. 

‘It is unacceptable that many Britons feel their only option to access drinking water on the go is to purchase single-use bottles, and we’re glad to see that the public feels just as strongly. Now it’s on the government to heed this call and make free drinking water accessible to all,’ said Will Pearson, Ocean Bottle co-founder. ‘In the absence of clear government action, Will Pearson credits third party initiatives for stepping up to make free water more publicly available. Most notably, City to Sea has launched a hugely successful refill campaign to make free drinking water available in thousands of cafes and restaurants.’

Currently, the UK’s use of bottled water contributes around 233,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. In addition to this, plastic pollution continues to rise across the globe, with an estimated 171 trillion pieces of the material finding their way into the world’s waterways, seas and oceans since the late-1970s. The impact on ecosystems is profound, and a multilateral treaty on plastics has so far not been reached, with recent talks aimed at establishing an international agreement criticised for focusing on downstream solutions – those that tackle plastic pollution after it has happened.

At the time of writing, the water fountain network petition had reached more than 36,000 signatures. You can add your name here

More on plastic pollution:

First UK supermarket switches to Prevented Ocean Plastic bottles

Plastic treaty talks unlikely to deliver solution

The Polluted Mermaid campaign highlights plight of marine life




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