As the environmental conscience of Italy grows, officials are trying to cut down on the plastic bottles that are stacking up in Venice’s trash cans, creating a nuisance. The bottles can be recycled, but this process unleashes its own greenhouse gases.
Officials in Venice, faced with the problem of encouraging tap water use, took a hint from the advertising world –- the same world that made bottled water a global industry. First move: they coined a name, Acqua Veritas, and slapped it on carafes that were given to households free of charge.
In Italy tap water is often referred to as “the mayor’s water.” Posters of Venice’s mayor pouring himself a tall glass can be seen around the city.
“There are so many advantages to Acqua Veritas,” Riccardo Seccarello, a city official, told The New York Times. “Tap water doesn’t require a bottle. Its quality is controlled more strictly than bottled water. It’s really cheap. And you don’t have to walk to a market to get it.”
The campaign to promote city water has not made much headway in the commercial market. Restaurants and stores still rely on selling bottled water, and in a city dominated by tourism, public education aimed at local drinkers can only go so far.
Trash is a problem in Venice, because it is collected by wheelbarrow along the canals, a cost that is $251 more per ton than on the paved mainland of Italy. Since the Acqua Veritas campaign, officials claim that load is down about 20 tons per month.
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Source: The New York Times
Inset photo by C.T. Pope
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