Londoners are being urged by the London Assembly to give up bottled drinks and consume tap water instead, to help protect the environment.
The call comes after city officials in New York launched a campaign to persuade people to abandon bottled water.
According to the London Assembly, Londoners drink the bottled water equivalent of just over one Olympic-sized swimming pool per week, of which 25% is imported. The total quantity of plastic bottles entering the UK household wastestream is 525,000 tonnes per year. And only 25% of plastic bottles consumed in the household wastestream are recycled per year, according to not-for-profit organisation Recoup.
London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones said: Londoners need to show some independence and show that ordering tap water with your meal, or at the pub, is fashionable and the right thing to do. Selling water in bottles and burning massive quantities of fossil fuels for its transportation does not make economic or environmental sense.
Most containers for bottled water are made from non-degradable plastics, which take 450 years to break down when disposed of in landfill sites. Even glass bottles of water still take a lot of energy to crush and recycle, whereas all we do with a restaurant glass of water is wash it up afterwards.
However, the Bottle Water Information Office (BIWO) has launched a defence of the bottled water industry. BWIO spokesman Richard Laming said: If you look at the way that people are choosing bottled water, they are consuming more every year because we are offering a product that people enjoy. They are conscious of the environmental considerations because recycling rates are growing every year.
People also have more confidence about where bottled water comes from and it is tested 100 times as much as tap water.