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Ending the bottled water madness

Guernsey Press Comment | Published:

There really is something quite amazing about the prevalence of bottled water.

A whole industry built up around selling us something we already have access to.

We thankfully live in a region where safe drinking water from the tap is the norm, we do not even give it a second thought.

People shelling out money for bottled water being imported from some far-flung mountain range should really invoke derision and laughter – and in time it will.

We are not living in 1854, when the Broad Street water pump in Soho was the source of a cholera epidemic that killed more than 500 residents.

John Snow’s study famously plotted the cases against a geographical grid to eventually prove the link at a time when ‘bad air’ was being blamed.

Nowadays people feel virtuous every time they refill a bottle from a tap, but it wasn’t all that long ago that public water fountains were the norm.

Guernsey Water is now looking back to the future as it unveiled plans for a refill station at the Liberation Monument and at Vazon to build on the success of businesses that are signed up to allow the public to fill their bottles.

It literally is a no-brainer.

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The wastefulness of bottled water is well understood, from the resources used to produce it, to those burnt transporting it, to having to dispose of the waste afterwards.

What Guernsey Water is doing is a gloriously simple idea with benefits that vastly outweigh any minimal cost outlay.

It is this kind of improvement of the public realm that it is easy to buy in to, although it would be even easier if the machines were as ornate and well manufactured as the public water pumps and fountains of days gone by.

Guernsey is moving in the right direction on an unnecessary reliance on single-use plastic, including talks on banning bags.

It led the way with the plastic carrier bag charge and it can only be hoped that making it easier to refill will have an impact on the amount of bottled water being consumed.

Nick Mann

By Nick Mann

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