Environment & Health HKFP Buzz

Bring your own bottle: Mobile app maps out over 800 public water fountains

Tired of buying bottled water in Hong Kong? A mobile app which maps public water sources in Hong Kong is growing in popularity.

Water for Free, a crowd-sourced online tool created by environmentalists, features over 800 water fountains and dispensers. If users discover a water fountain that is not listed, they can ask for it to be added.

google map water hong kong

Click for an interactive map.

Rachel Pang of Go Green Hong Kong, the group behind the app, told HKFP that the app encourages citizens to bring their own bottles and refill them, instead of buying bottled water.

“I was trying to find ways to reduce plastic waste at its source by reducing consumption because Hong Kong’s recycling rate is atrociously low… We wanted to make it easy for people to choose the cheaper, environmentally friendly option, while at the same time bringing awareness to the issue of plastic waste and the fact that this city needs a lot more water fountains than what we have now,” Pang said.

Ueq7ia9.png (371×249)Inspired by the Find a Fountain app, popular in London, Pang says that Hong Kong’s MTR system should roll out water fountains at stations. She says that two million plastic bottles end up in landfills or the ocean every day.

“These plastic bottles are not being recycled because the price of virgin plastic (which is made of oil) is too low. Without a government mandated recycling program or waste charging scheme these bottles simply become trash. What’s worse, the plastic is breaking up in our oceans and being eaten by birds, fish and other sea life.”

Despite recent fears over lead found in local water supplies and reservoir contamination, Pang says that the public supply can still be trusted and that the most popular bottled brands are in fact tap water.
“Almost all of the water fountains listed in our app have water filters installed in them,” she added.

Bring your own bottle: Mobile app maps out over 800 public water fountains