WATER fountains are set to be installed along Southsea seafront in a bid to cut down on plastic waste.
Portsmouth City Council has announced plans to put five bottle refill stations along the coastal path by the summer – with a view to swinging open its own doors for drinkers too.
Council buildings across the city, including the civic offices in Guildhall Square, will also play host to refills – as the initiative looks to make it easier and cheaper to stay hydrated on the go.
The watering holes will be registered on a digital map on Refill, a smartphone app which lists spots where residents and visitors can replenish their water bottles.
Councillor Robert New, cabinet member for environment and community safety at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘As an island city, the issue of plastic in the sea is one right on our doorstep and I am keen to promote ways residents can reduce their consumption of single use plastics.
‘I have written to a number of businesses in the city asking them to join us by adding their business to the Refill app to encourage residents and visitors to make use of reusable drinking bottles and at the same time, enjoy the health benefits of staying hydrated. I’m thrilled that several are on board already.’
The stations have been pencilled in to pop up at beachside spots near Duisburg Way, Southsea Rock Gardens, Canoe Lake and the Southsea and Eastney ends of Esplanade.
Overseeing their installation are councillors Luke Stubbs and Linda Symes.
Cllr Stubbs, cabinet member for public health and adult social care at Portsmouth City Council, said; ‘I’m really pleased that we’re making it easier for people to access free drinking water when they’re out and about in the city. Staying hydrated is important for good health and water is the best choice you can make.
‘People will now be able to top up their bottles for free at places across the city, which will help to reduce costs when you’re out for the day. This project should also have a significant impact on the amount of plastic we use in Portsmouth, which will be another great benefit.’
Cllr Linda Symes, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, hopes the initiative will encourage residents to choose water over ‘unhealthy options’, including fizzy drinks.
She said: ‘The new refill stations are likely to be especially popular during the summer with those enjoying the beach and attending the various great events happening in Southsea.’
The free Refill app is available to download from Google Play and the Apple Store.