Australia's Manly Council is striving to wean its residents and tourist visitors off bottled water. After Bondi Beach, Manly is possibly Australia's most well known beach suburb and thus attracts a plethora of visitors who often cross Sydney Harbour by ferry to get there. However being such a drawcard has its downsides, like the sheer volume of single-use, bottled water containers.
So the local municipal council have installed six free filtered-water fountains to "combat climate change and decrease our impact on the environment by reducing the purchase of bottled water and associated waste." And impact there is. The Age newspaper commenting on the story gleaned figures which suggest that Australians slurped $431 million AUD of bottled water last year.
Thirsty folk are encouraged to either drink direct from the water fountains, (known Down Under as 'bubblers') and to fill up their own reusable bottles, instead of buying bottled water.Teamwork
The Bubbler Project is the result of Jon Dee (co-founder of Planet Ark) teaming up with Manly Mayor, Peter Macdonald, and Councillor, Barbara Aird, plus filtered water company, Culligan Australia. The exercise was already paying dividends for Culligan who reportedly already had other councils and businesses making enquiries. It is apparently offering councils free filter equipment and half-price replacement filters into the future to sweeten the transition.
Jon Dee's new campaign The Bottle Water Alliance and he has said, "The aim is to reduce bottled water use by 20% over two years."
Manly image found here
From the Council's perspective the project helps them demonstrate their commitment to helping the environment. "From the point of production to their ultimate disposal, water bottles have a significantly negative impact on our environment. The production, transportation, refrigeration and disposal of water bottles is a massive waste of our natural resources and leads to excessive greenhouse gas emissions; not to mention the obvious pollution they create in our local environment," said the Mayor. And he has written to all his fellow mayor around the country encouraging them to follow in Manly's lead.
As you might expect not everyone is thrilled with the initiative. 'Revamped bubblers were a waste of taxpayers' money and that "we do have an issue with pressuring retailers into not selling bottled water" ' was the response given to aforementioned 'The Age' by the Australian Beverages Council The beverage industry have also long been dismissive of Container Deposit Legislation (CDL). (CDL is where the cost of a beverage is an initially higher due to a deposit, which is fully refundable, when the container is returned to a retail outlet. CDL only operates in one Australian state currently -- South Australia).
More TreeHugger on Local Community Action
• Official 2005 Australian 'Local Hero' reduces town's plastics bags
• Shopping Bag Tax for San Francisco?
• Transition Towns Reach New Zealand