New EP plans to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter
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New plans have been outlined to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter. The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment said on Monday that EU countries should promote universal access to clean water for all in the EU.
The Committee explained that Member States should also take measures to improve water access, such as setting up free fountains in cities and public places, where technically feasible and proportionate.
They should also encourage tap water to be provided in restaurants, canteens and catering services for free or for a low service fee.
MEPs noted that the legislation tightens the maximum limits for certain pollutants such as lead (to be reduced by half), PFAS, harmful bacteria, and introduces new caps for endocrine disruptors Bisphenol A and Beta-estradiol (50-25-2). It also monitors levels of microplastics, an emerging concern.
Following-up on their resolution on the citizens’ initiative Right2Water, MEPs reiterated that Member States should focus on the needs of vulnerable groups in society.
“They should identify people without access, or with limited access to water, including vulnerable and marginalised groups, and assess ways to improve their access, informing them clearly about how to connect to the distribution network or about alternative means to have access to such water.”
Michel Dantin rapporteur, said, “I am pleased that the Environment Committee has adopted a clear position proposing a pragmatic and realistic response to the demands of European citizens, in particular the Right2Water initiative.
“It would improve access to water, improve the quality and performance of water distribution networks in Europe, and manage the risks of contaminants in upstream water, while limiting the impact on water prices,” he added.
The full House is to vote on the report during its 22-25th of October plenary session in Strasbourg.
The aim is to increase citizens’ confidence in the water supply and increase the use of tap water for drinking, which could contribute to reducing plastic usage and litter.
“Lower consumption of bottled water could help EU households save more than €600 million per year,” the European Commission said. “If confidence in tap water improves, citizens can also contribute to reducing plastic waste from bottled water, including marine litter”
Plastic bottles are one of the most common single use plastic items found on European beaches, the Commission said.