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Jul 2, 2019 / Richard Hall

European Union targets bottled water

It’s extraordinary how much tap water we use, compared with what we drink. According to the European Commission, the average EU citizen consumes 106 litres of bottled water per year. Most of us use more tap water than that in a DAY. The average in Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Ireland and the United Kingdom is 150 litres or more per day.

A European Commission public consultation in 2015 identified the proportion of Europeans always using tap water for particular purposes as:

• 95% for washing and personal hygiene

• 84% for cooking, directly from the tap

• 53% for drinking, directly from the tap

• 10% for drinking, after filtering it.

Over 80% said there is good access to quality drinking water where they live.

“Only 20% find drinking water outside of their home country acceptable.”

The previous European Parliament voted to improve drinking water quality and access, including free fountains in public spaces and free tap water in restaurants.

A European Parliament news statement dated 19 October 2018 states: “According to the European Commission, access to better quality water could reduce bottled water consumption by 17%. Less bottled water would help people save money and also have a positive impact on the environment, by reducing CO2 emissions and plastic waste.”

It’s great to improve tap water quality and access, but not to target bottled water.

• Bottled water has a far lower environmental impact than all other packaged drinks as well as being healthy.

• I have also long contended that the full comparable cost of tap water for drinking is not dissimilar to that of cheaper, local bottled waters.

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