Reducing single-use plastic water bottles, I’ll drink to that!
Maybe I missed something, but where's our municipal leadership on reducing single-use plastic water bottles in our so-called green city?
In various events I took part in this summer, I saw little to no effort to limit single-use plastic water bottles. Heck, in one public event I attended in Aylmer, two ladies heading to Morocco were even selling water bottles on city property to fund their trip to the North African desert country.
During another event, in the swelteringly hot Guertin Arena (a topic perhaps for another piece), single-use plastic water bottles were being consumed by athletes, volunteers and spectators without restraint. Garbage bins were overflowing with empty plastic water bottles that I’m sure are now occupying space somewhere in a landfill.
It's true, water fountains at the arena are inconspicuous and single-use plastic water bottles are readily accessible at these events. This is where the city should and needs to take action.
Even if the evidence is clear that single-use plastic water bottles are occupying a greater and greater place in our landfills -- and that our municipal water is safe to drink -- consumers continue and will continue to grab single-use plastic water bottles to quench their thirst or in some cases, simply to look healthy.
Waiting for consumers to change their habits will take too long, which is why the city needs to act promptly. It would be sensible for city council to ban the sale on single-use plastic bottles on municipal land, such as public parks, their sports complexes and in other municipal buildings. The city should also coerce event organizers to ensure single-use plastic water bottles are prohibited during events that receive municipal dollars.
This will require some explanation to citizens – with reminders – until it becomes a habit to “bring your own” or use a water fountain.
I'm somewhat stunned this file has apparently been left dormant in a city like Gatineau which prides itself in being green. I'm further surprised that not one city councillor has taken up this issue and made it a hobbyhorse, at least not to my knowledge.
To efficiently ban, or at least reduce, single-use water bottles, the city would need to make attractive water fountains readily accessible across the city to ensure that people do not turn to single-use plastic water bottles. It seems these days, for whatever reason, people must have access to water or a beverage at all times. This is fine, but years ago most people were able to go on an outing without water bottles or a drink.
In transitioning away from single-use water bottles, the city should encourage consumers not to grab unhealthy products, such as pop, to replace water. Otherwise, this will fuel another problem, the public health issue of obesity. It's clear that water is a healthy alternative to sugary drinks, but disposable plastics remain unhealthy for the environment. And the province is limiting every year what can go into our landfills!