To reduce the escalating volume of discarded plastic water bottles, the city has rebranded their own municipal water as Aqua Veritas (or True Water). Italians may be the world’s champion slurpers of bottled water [151 litres (40 gallons) per perperson annually] but since The New York Times reported this last week, their initiative has received wide international coverage.
The bulky empty water bottles are a waste nightmare for Venice because the city does not have the usual road network to facilitate easy recycling or garbage collection. Waste collection costs the city four times as much as its sister mainland cities. But it does have tap water, which the New York Times tell us originates from deep underground in the same region as one of Italy’s most popular bottled waters, San Benedetto.
A logo and marketing campaign using the city mayor (pictured above left), was created a few years ago to promote benefits of using the municipal tap water. Households were even issued with stylish carafes to get the message across. However the hospitality trade is more than happy to fleece tourists by selling them water in a bottle. But this glitch aside the city has seen its plastic waste tonnage drop by about 10% since starting the public education exercise and the number of people now drinking tap water has risen by roughly the same degree.
We think Riccardo Seccarello, a city official for Venice, sums up the whole bottled water vs tap water debate rather succinctly:
Tap water doesn’t require a bottle. Its quality is controlled more strictly than bottled water. It’s really cheap. And you don’t have to walk to a market to get it.
::Aqua Veritas, via The New York Times
Photos: Aqua Veritas, Venice
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