Boston Sets Foundation for Hydration

Published On November 27, 2012 | By Hannah Ellsbury | Articles

Citing the state’s rapidly rising obesity rate, city officials are calling for water to flow from more public places to keep Bostonians hydrated and cut back on wasting plastic.

According to a hearing request filed by Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, sources of accessible tap-water for runners, walkers, tourists and locals are limited and difficult for many to locate.

“Access to the City of Boston’s water supply for personal consumption is limited in public buildings and in public outdoor spaces, in contrast with many other communities that have expanded tap-water programs,” he said.

O’Malley wants to fix the problem by talking about ways that Boston can implement new “technologies” so more people can wet their lips while out on the town.

O’Malley said by bringing new tap water spots to walkers’ lips, it could also lead to a reduction in plastic consumption.

According to O’Malley, Americans buy an estimated 34.6 billion single-serving plastic water bottles annually. Almost eight out of 10 end up in a landfill or incinerator, he said.

“There is potential to provide a greater public service and improve public awareness around the benefits of drinking tap-water,” O’Malley said in the hearing request.

The city official said these proposed tap-water improvements would also go well with recent Boston initiatives to promote healthier lifestyles.

“Improved access to tap-water would work in tandem with these programs,” he said.

While the exact details about how more tap water would make its way to Hub dwellers was not specified in his request, other cities across the country got innovative with new concepts, ditching the conventional water spouts and replacing them with newer models.

In San Francisco, for example, building owners were told to install  refilling stations where older fountains used to be. These installations encouraged constituents to purchase reusable water bottles, rather than waste money on plastic containers.

Already, more than 85 college campuses nationwide, including many in Boston, have banned the sale of plastic water bottles on campus and set up water refill stations similar to those in San Francisco.

Harvard, Dartmouth and Princeton started installing refilling stations into their newer buildings, welcoming in students with reusable Nalgene bottles instead of bottled up Poland Spring.

In April, the town of Concord became the first place in the nation to do away with plastic water bottle sales.



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