Eileen Humphreys, Healthy Limerick and Mayor Michael Collins at the new refill station at Merchant's Quay | PICTURE: Keith Wiseman
A NUMBER of contactless water bottle filling stations has been installed at locations across Limerick in a effort to reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles.
The new filling stations provide contactless, clean and safe water without the risk of touching high-use buttons that could increase the spread of infection.
Users can simply place a water bottle into the holder and the sensors will pick up on movement and activate the machine.
Four of the new stations have been rolled out with support from the Healthy Ireland Fund and Limerick European Green Leaf City 2020.
A fifth has been installed in Athea village on behalf of Athea Tidy Towns with funding from the Limerick Local Community Development Committee’s Community Enhancement Programme.
The locations of the five refill stations, which are free to use, are:
- Merchant’s Quay, Limerick city – beside the gate into St Mary’s Cathedral
- Adare Library
- Civic Buildings and Courthouse complex in Kilmallock
- The Square, Abbeyfeale
- Athea Village
Commenting on the completion of the installation works, Mayor of the city and county of Limerick, Cllr Michael Collins said: “Limerick City and County Council is committed to establishing a network of public drinking water fountains to help reduce plastic waste. Reducing reliance on plastic and improving water sustainability is vital as we work to combat climate change and protect our environment and oceans. This new installation has the added benefit of playing a vital role in protecting public health during the Covid-19 period. I know it will be well used and be of benefit to the Limerick citizens and visitors.”
Eileen Humphreys, Healthy Limerick Coordinator said: “I am delighted to see this project come to fruition. It is a good example of collaborative work between Limerick City and County Council, Limerick Local Community Development Committee, the Government of Ireland, Healthy Ireland Fund and Pobal.
Anne Goggin, head of the Limerick City 2020 European Green Leaf Programme, added: "Preventing the use of single use plastic bottles was an important element of Limerick City’s European Green Leaf programme for 2020. The team was delighted to support this contactless drinking water fountain project and I hope that we will see new public developments across Limerick city and county include this type of feature into their designs in the future. This would result in more units being rolled out throughout the city and county and further combat the use of single use plastics.”
Peter Wynne, Managing Director of Ecofil which worked with the local authority to rollout the filling stations said:" During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we temporarily decommissioned our units and worked on diversifying our product range to ensure we could continue to provide access to water in a safe way. We believe that access to clean water in public areas is instrumental in the fight against single-use plastics. An analysis of 50 Ecofil public water stations in local authorities, conducted in 2019, found that 365,000 litres, or 730,000 bottles, are saved from landfill on an annual basis.”
Helen O Donnell, Chair of Limerick City Centre Tidy Towns and Damien Ahern, Chair of Athea Tidy Towns have also welcomed the installation of the new units and emphasised that the contactless water fountains will form part of their Tidy Towns’ applications in 2021 under the sustainability category – reducing the dependency on single use plastics.