MEPs back tap water fountains in bid to reduce plastic waste

05 Nov 2018 / environment Print

MEPs in push for more public tap water fountains

MEPs have just backed plans to increase the use of tap water for drinking and to reduce the amount of plastic waste resulting from bottled water.

They want member states to provide free fountains in public places, wherever it is technically feasible.

Most EU populations have good access to high-quality drinking water, with over 98.5% of sample tests meeting EU standards, according to a 2016 report by the European Environment Agency.

However MEP Brian Hayes says that consumers’ trust in drinking water from the tap needs to be restored, particularly in light of in this country with cryptosporidium outbreaks in this water 

“The EU Drinking Water Directive sets minimum quality standards for water intended for human consumption (drinking, cooking, other domestic purposes), in order to protect us from contamination,” he said.

However, MEP Brian Hayes says that consumers’ trust in drinking water from the tap needs to be restored, particularly in light of cryptosporidium outbreaks in this country.

Human consumption

“The EU Drinking Water Directive sets minimum quality standards for water intended for human consumption (drinking, cooking, other domestic purposes), in order to protect us from contamination,” he said.

“The updated Drinking Water Directiveis another important legislative step towards implementing the EU Plastics Strategy,” he said.

The new rules include:  

  • Tightening the maximum limits for certain pollutants, such as lead (to be reduced by half), harmful bacteria, as well as introducing new caps for certain endocrine disruptors
  • Member states to take measures to provide universal access to clean water in the EU and improve water access in cities and public places, by setting up free fountains where technically feasible and proportionate.
  • They should also encourage tap water to be provided in restaurants, canteens and catering services for free or for a low service fee.
  • Member states should identify people without access, or with limited access to water, including vulnerable and marginalised groups, and assess ways to improve their access. 

It’s estimated that lowered consumption of bottled water could help EU households save more than €600 million per year, as well as reducing plastic waste. 

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