Some reasons for a fountain on every corner instead of a hundred bottles in every trashcan:
- City collection of empty bottles is expensive
- Free water is cheaper than bottled water
- If water is free, then the price differential encourages kids to avoid sugary drinks
- Fewer delivery trucks in the streets mean a lower carbon footprint and cleaner air
- Ubiquitous fountains strengthen our connection to municipal drinking water to ensure it is preserved.
Here in New York, a New York Times OpEd on water fountains by Bottlemania author Elizabeth Royte has launched a new campaign to put 1,000 drinking fountains on the streets of New York City. It's raised $500,000 so far.
Here is a little from Elizabeth's OpEd:
"Bottled water’s main virtue, it seems, is convenience, especially for people at large in the city. As the editor of Beverage Digest told The Times, “It’s not so easy, walking down Third Avenue on a hot day, to get a glass of tap water.”
"But it needn’t be so. Paris has its ornate cast-iron Wallace fountains (donated in the late 19th century by a wealthy philanthropist hoping to steer the homeless from alcohol toward a healthier beverage); Rome its ever-running street spigots; Portland, Ore., its delightful four-bowl Benson Bubblers."
So what about the rest of American cities? If Paris and Rome and Portland get to have water fountains, shouldn't the rest of us?
Illustration by John Hendrix courtesy of the New York Times.