By Nicole Garcia Merida
Several businesses in Wales are campaigning for the use of plastic water bottles to be reduced significantly. Plastic has become as ubiquitous to the ocean as islands, with a landfill twice the size of the state of Texas occupying the Pacific Ocean.
Even more alarmingly, according to a study conducted by Greenpeace 12.7 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans each year in addition to the 165 million tons already in the sea. In fact, by 2050 plastic will actually outweigh fish. The day-to-day consumption of water bottles, which amounts to a £2.4 billion industry, has resulted in the mass pollution of oceans.
Bottled water has now become a huge industry, but plastic bottles inevitably end up in the sea as they are not biodegradable, as David Attenborough’s recent documentary Blue Planet II revealed.
Shops and restaurants across Newport are going to dot their doors with ‘Refill’ scheme stickers, meaning that they can refill anybody’s water containers for free. According to the organisation behind the campaign, if only 1 in 10 people refilled their water containers once a week, there’d be about 340 million less plastic bottles in circulation every single year.
After noticing several businesses in Bristol had the Refill Scheme’s blue drop on their window, the owners of Meat Bar and Grill in Newport decided to bring it to Wales as well. The Whole Earth Deli, Rogue Fox, The Cellar Door and Holy Cheesus have joined them. Businesses in Monmouthshire, Torfaen, and Caerphilly are following their lead. Since the Refill Scheme launched in 2015, 1600 Refill stations have popped up across the UK. Their website has an option to register as a Refill station, so any business can sign up for it.
The Plastic Ocean Foundation presents the facts as they are — over the last ten years, humans have produced more plastics than the whole of the last century. Plastic contamination continues to grow exponentially to the point it threatens to outgrow the ocean’s native creatures, thousands of which are harmed by the growing presence of this pollutant in their home.
Plastic is cheap and durable, and a great deal of companies present images of glaciers and clear springs to further push the purity of their product, however it is these bodies of water that are threatened by their existence. Tap water in the UK and in the US is of a very high quality and not of a large difference to bottled water.