A national group that’s been lobbying for a ban on bottled water is applauding Nova Scotia for promising to stop buying bottled water for government departments.
Meera Karunananthan, who speaks for the Council of Canadians on water issues, said the province should go one step further and install water fountains in provincial buildings and parks.
“[I] think it’s an important first step. We’re hoping that this will also lead to a commitment on the part of the provincial government to phase out the sale and purchase of bottled water in public schools, in hospitals and in other provincially-owned facilities,” she said Tuesday.
Premier Darrell Dexter announced Monday during a speech at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)convention in Halifax that the province will stop buying bottled water as part of an effort to divert plastic waste from landfills and help restore the image of municipal tap water.
The Environment Department has been ordered to come up with a policy that can apply to all provincial buildings, he said.
“Where there is potable water in departments, we will no longer use or provide battled water,” Dexter said.
Government offices will get to keep their water coolers, he said, but the province will no longer buy individual water bottles.
“Bottled water generates tonnes of plastic that goes into the landfill. We want to stop doing that,” Dexter said.
“We also want to support the well-run municipal water systems that exist here in the province and make the point that you can get, for pennies a glass, some of the highest-quality and best-tasting water anywhere.”
CUPE provincial union president Danny Kavanagh welcomed the premier’s announcement because the union formed a “Ditch the Bottle Coalition” some time ago.
Kavanagh said if the premier follows through on his promise, Nova Scotia will be leading the country by example.
“So, the provincial government will not buy bottled water, they’re going to do a phase out of bottled water in provincial buildings. We were very pleased and excited that the premier announced that at our convention. We think that that’s a good thing,” he said.
The announcement caught Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau by surprise, even though his department is developing the policy and it’ll be his job as environment minister to champion the cause.
Dexter said the policy request went to Belliveau’s department last week and it’s not unusual that it would not have crossed the minister’s desk yet.
But opposition MLAs said Dexter seems to be running a one-man show.
Dartmouth East Liberal MLA Andrew Younger said the premier doesn’t seem to trust his cabinet ministers.
“It’s very clear here that the premier does not trust his ministers to even tell them about policies he’s planning to announce,” he said.
Hants West Tory MLA Chuck Porter agreed.
“Maybe that’s the way Mr. Dexter is going to run the show for the next few years and, if that’s the case, why does he have a cabinet? Why doesn’t he make all the decisions on his own?” he said.
Both Porter and Younger said they support a ban on bottled water.
Taken from CBC news