London water fountains fight plastic bottle issues, says report

1 May 2019 (Last Updated May 1st, 2019 16:50)

Public drinking water fountains installed across London are significantly helping people to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles, according to research conducted by the #OneLess campaign.

Public drinking water fountains installed across London, UK, are significantly helping people to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles, according to research conducted by the #OneLess campaign.

Data indicated that public drinking fountains installed across the city over the past year are gaining popularity and could be a major factor in curbing plastic bottle usage.

The fountains were installed as a part of the #OneLess campaign’s pilot project with the Mayor of London.

Over the last 12 months, 15 fountains have dispensed 77,737l of water. The figure is the equivalent of 155,474 500ml single-use plastic water bottles.

The #OneLess campaign’s Fountain Fund established these public drinking fountains with funding support from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and MIW Water Cooler Experts.

Data released by the campaign is based on preliminary research conducted by Masters Students at Imperial College London on its behalf.

Research pointed out that public fountains are encouraging Londoners to drink water sustainably and reduce bottled water usage.

As per the survey, more than half (53%) of fountain users stated that they use fewer plastic bottles due to the availability of more fountains.

"Our aim is to make drinking fountains as much part of our street landscape as the post box."

MIW Water Cooler Experts CEO Mike Winter said: “Our aim is to make drinking fountains as much part of our street landscape as the post box. The latest models of Elkay outdoor fountains are tougher, safer and more accessible than ever before, and it’s clear that people love to use them.”

In what is a sign of changing mindset and growing concern over plastic pollution, around 84% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they make a conscious effort to avoid using single-use plastic bottles in order to help safeguard the ocean from plastics.

Led by international conservation charity ZSL, the #OneLess campaign seeks to significantly reduce single-use plastic water bottle usage in London and promote refillable drinking culture across the city.

#OneLess campaign project manager Fiona Llewellyn said: “These initial results are very positive and indicate that drinking fountains could play a key role in reducing London’s plastic footprint and creating a more sustainable city.”

The Mayor of London and Thames Water are looking to install a wider network of more than 100 additional fountains across the city.

Last month, 19 environment charities, coordinated by Wildlife and Countryside Link, urged the UK Government to phase out all non-essential single-use plastics by 2025, rather than 2042 currently targeted by the government.