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The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) took Education Minister Richard Bruton to task on comments that his officials were not aware of any school where pupils did not have access to a drinking water supply.

Rearch undertaken by the IHF amoung primary schools in 2015 found water was unavailable for FREE in 40% of the schools surveyed. 

Meanwhile, some 47pc of schools had vending machines, where sugar-sweetened drinks were more freely available than free drinking water.

The IHF noted that under the national obesity plan 2016-2025, 'A Healthy Weight for Ireland', the Department of Education has responsibility for the provision of 'potable water', otherwise known as drinking water, in all learning centres.

If our health is our wealth and our youngsters are seemingly going to pay for more of us than ever in retirement, should we consider it important enough to put water on the agenda at the next parent-teacher meeting..?

 

 

What do you give the city that has everything? Not content to rest on its laurels as a perceived capital of all things classy and cultured, Paris is taking to the streets with one of life’s simpler luxuries: sparkling water. Since 2010, the city has possessed a small network of fountains dispensing fresh sparkling water scattered across the city. Until this month, there were only eight of these fountains, but Paris City Hall has just embarked on an ambitious-sounding scheme that will ultimately provide at least one fountain of sparkling water in every one of Paris’s 20 Arrondissements. Today, a new sparkling water fountain flanking the Canal Saint Martin (at Square Eugene Varlin) emitted its first gush, the first of nine new ones due to be installed by next December. Within a few years, every corner of Paris could be flowing with free fizz. At the outset, the city’s water authorities presented this as a way of nudging Parisians to hydrate more.

“People often told me that they were ready to drink tap water if it was carbonated,” Anne le Strat, head of the Paris water board, told the magazine 20 Minutes when the first fountain was installed in 2010. “Now they they’ve got no excuse not to.”

The luxury of the concept sounds appealing, but what are these fountains actually like? Fantasies about the beautiful, opulent Paris of the imagination have a knack of being punctured by first contact with the real Paris, which like most cities, has its fair share of gray skies, burger bars, and banality. To see if the reality matched to the promise of the idea, I tracked down an operating Fontaine Pétillante, as the French call the fountains.

It wasn’t easy to find. Located very discreetly on the pedestrianized Seine quayside directly beneath the French parliament, the fountain looked almost as if it were designed to troll visiting fantasists with its simple look and battered condition. Tagged with graffiti and streaked with slime, only one of its two buttons actually dispensed any water.

Not a great start, but gulping some down from cupped hands it proved to be…utterly delicious. I am not exaggerating when I say that this fountain’s water was, given the unprepossessing look, a magical surprise. Cool but not icy, it’s extremely fizzy, with a really fine prickle of bubble mousse that was almost like the mouth-scratchingly effervescent Vichy mineral water older French people drink for vague reasons of health. I drink a lot of sparkling water at home and this excellent fountain had me thinking seriously about upgrading to a fancy water from my usual bulk buy of the cheap stuff at $0.55 a gallon. Drinking it on a soft, sunny autumn day, while watching professional dog walkers herd their great clouds of dogs in a canter along the quayside, was one of those welcome reminders that life can be, in fact, quite good.

Paris no doubt has more pressing needs than delivering small but pleasant surprises to visiting journalists. But when something this luxurious can be created by simply and cheaply inserting a CO2 canister into the base of a fountain—and then making it available to everyone—the city’s surely on the right track. Now all City Hall needs to install to make Paris shine is a municipal miniature poodle dispensary.

Article by Feargus O'Sullivan, Citylab.

 

Borough Market is getting rid of all plastic water bottles over the next six months in a bid to cut down the amount of landfill in the area. This means the sale of water in single-use plastic bottles at the market as well as in cafes and chains in the area will be stopped.

Londons only fully independent market will be introducing free drinking water fountains in order to keep people hydrated. The move is part of the market’s goal to make all other packaging used by its 114 traders over the 51,272 sq ft site near London Bridge biodegradable and compostable.

38.5m plastic bottles are bought in the UK every day, of which just over half are recycled, while 16m are put into landfill, burned or otherwise leaked into the environment and oceans each day. These can then take up to 450 years to break down once they reach the sea. The fountains are a welcome alternative offering free drinking water at all times. Each fountain will have two streams of water to drink from and one to refill reusable water bottles.

Question is where in Ireland will be the first to adopt this..and gain all the kudos?!. 

 

 

Are there companies who demonstrate innovative approaches towards our plastic consumption? Fortunately yes there are some. However, straight to the unfortunately it’s not our own large Irish lifestyle or grocery retail stores. Like many sustainable projects Selfridges in London started small:

2011: They launched ‘Project Ocean’ with food events and large colorful store windows. The campaign was based on estimates there will be 1kg of plastic for every 3kg of fish in our oceans by 2021. They ensured only non-endangered fish are served and began producing the fish guide to helps customers navigate away from endangered fish.

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