On World Refill Day this year, temperature rose to high levels, resulting in an assembly member calling for more water fountains to be introduced in London.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, deputy chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, has supported the campaign of Ocean Bottle, a reusable bottle company, to have more water fountains installed throughout the capital.
In April, the Evening Standard revealed a significant disparity in the availability of drinking fountains across the city.
Statistics obtained through Freedom of Information requests showed that the highest numbers of fountains were in Southwark (53), Lambeth (51), and Lewisham (43), while Barking and Dagenham had only one fountain and Havering had none.
Last month, politicians including Jeremy Corbyn, an independent MP for Islington North, and John McDonnell, the MP for Hayes and Harlington, called on the government to establish a network of fountains across the UK.
To coincide with World Refill Day, which aims to combat plastic pollution and promote waste reduction, a petition was launched, urging the installation of more fountains.
The petition has already garnered over 25,000 signatures.
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly, stated that recent polling indicates that three-quarters of UK adults can go an entire day without encountering a water fountain while out and about.
Britons spend around £1.6 billion annually on bottled water, much of which is imported.
The petition states: “With the assistance of central government funding, local councils must establish a comprehensive network of refill locations across the UK.”
Will Pearson, co-founder of Ocean Bottle, expressed, “On the hottest day of 2022, England witnessed 638 more deaths than usual. Regular access to water is vital in safeguarding people from dehydration, overheating, and heat exhaustion, all of which strain the NHS and can be fatal. However, currently, there are insufficient water fountains available to keep people hydrated during the summer months, resulting in significant public health risks.”
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, remarked, “As temperatures rise, World Refill Day provides a real opportunity for the millions of people who carry a reusable bottle to make their voices heard. I hope that many will sign this petition, prompting both local councils and the central government to take notice. Water refill points should be as commonplace as postboxes and litter bins—without them, too many individuals resort to purchasing water packaged in polluting plastic.”
The petition is accessible for signing by all individuals on Change.org.