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Great to see our capital's effort in restoring drinking water fountains. Boris Johnson is pursuing many such positive developments here. Plastic bottled water is worth eliminating by such means especially for a city of business and tourism.
Tetra Pak in a related issue is taking back all used packs, making it a Zero Waste alternative to many plastic bottled options. This has the potential to make cradle-to-cradle practice an established fact in the food industry.
Here in the Chicago area, freezing in winter is a problem along with vandalism. In my town they are so strapped for money that even the tiniest expenses are under examination. In the summer, so few drink from the fountains (located in parks) that the water standing in the pipes can get warm, further discouraging use. City workers are unionized and so expensive that the city will keep them from working on anything but the most essential tasks. A worker driving around town turning on fountains in the spring and then turning them off in the fall is a few hundred dollars that can be lopped from the budget. Even our branch libraries with volunteer labor are under threat.
What would happen if there were coin operated drinking fountains where you would have to pay a dime for a drink? I bet the public would be up in arms at charging people this way, yet a dime a drink is far less than what water costs from a bottle. It also might show how much more people think they need water than they actually do – I'd guess few would think it worth a dime for a drink. The best places for fountains are near sports facilities like tennis, volleyball, basketball courts and soccer fields where folks really DO get thirsty!
In the city (Chicago) they simply turn on the public water fountains and let them run continuously all season, saving on having to maintain the push-to-drink mechanism, simple as it may be. Having access to water from Lake Michigan makes that practical.
Here in Paris, we have had Wallace fountains with drinkable water all around the city since the late 19th century. Wallace was an Englishman who inherited a large amount of money and decided to add fountains all around Paris for the poor, and had the French government promise to always keep them running with free drinkable water. Handy for refilling bottles!
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