A new scheme to increase the number of public water fountains in London has been launched with funding of £5m amid efforts to cut down on single-use plastic waste.
The fund, set up by Thames Water and the Mayor of London, aims to encourage people to refill rather than buy bottled water. It is also hoped readily available tap water will offer an alternative to unhealthy drinks and help combat child obesity.
The new fountains will be installed from spring 2019 in busy areas such as shopping centres, museums, parks and outside stations. Councils, businesses and local groups can bid for funding from the campaign.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “For many years, our public water fountains were discarded and neglected, whilst single-use plastic waste soared. We’re determined to reverse that trend and help deliver hundreds more free public fountains in the capital for everyone to enjoy.”
Adults in the UK use nearly 7.7 billion single-use plastic water bottles each year, equivalent to roughly 150 per person, according to the Zoological Society of London’s #OneLess campaign.
Steve Robertson, chief executive of Thames Water, said the company is proud of the high quality of its tap water. “By making it even more accessible for Londoners on the move we can together limit the use of millions of single-use plastic bottles which sadly end up in landfill or in our rivers and oceans,” he added.