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HK should install more water dispensers to reduce bottled water consumption: think tank

(Xinhua)    19:30, April 28, 2015

HONG KONG, April 28 -- Hong Kong should install more water dispensers with high quality water in prominent locations to help reduce bottled water consumption and plastic waste, a local think tank Civic Exchange said here on Tuesday.

According to a survey released by Civic Exchange, over half of respondents usually drink bottled water, and 16 percent of them are heavy consumers, as "convenience" is the main consideration in drinking water choice.

The survey also showed 91 percent of consumers usually bought bottles of less than 1L in volume, which are usually intended for immediate personal consumption but more wasteful of plastic than bulk household purchase of larger bottles.

"Bottled water is in theory an unnecessary and avoidable source of plastic waste as potable water is easily available from the municipal water supply," Civic Exchange's CEO Yan-yan Yip said.

According to the survey, only 26 percent of respondents used a public water dispenser in the last six months. However, 46 percent respondents expressed their willingness to use water dispensers if they were widely available and provided water of similar quality to bottled water.

Yip said water dispensers need to become competitive with bottled water in terms of distribution and accessibility, in order to encourage the public to reduce bottled water consumption.

While water dispensers are mostly found in sports and recreation venues, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, private sector and public bodies should proactively consider providing more water dispensers in other convenient locations, Yip said.

To reduce people's reluctance to use water dispensers, good water quality and hygiene of water dispensers should be ensured, Yip said, adding that adopting transparent approaches by making maintenance schedules and water quality test results available to the public could be considered.

Publicity campaigns and partnership with water filtration companies would also help to build public goodwill and inspire people's confidence, she said.

The survey on Hong Kong residents' consumption habits and perceptions regarding bottled water and plastic waste was conducted in August, 2014, with 1,013 respondents interviewed through random household telephone calls.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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