The City of Venice is encouraging the use of refillable water bottles, drawing tourists’ attention to the many drinking water fountains found around the city, informs Phys.org. The city intends to reduce plastic waste, as well as reduce the pollution caused by transporting bottles to the historic centre.
"In the historic centre, there are 126 fountains spread over the area, they're easy to find, there's one nearly every 100 metres”, said architect Alberto Chinellato, from city hall. The local water utility Veritas has an app where the nearest fountains can be found in a map, to make it easier for tourists to find them.
Millions of people visit Venice every year, accounting for 28-40% of the waste produced, including countless single-use plastic water bottles.
Local hotel owners are also contributing to the effort, briefing guests upon arrival about the good quality of water in the city. Gioele Romanelli, owner of Hotel Flora, said “they are sometimes surprised to learn that the water in Venice is drinkable". The hotel provides a card indicating the location of fountains, and encourages tourists to either use a refillable bottle or recycle a small water bottle after they use it all day. They also do their bit to reduce plastic waste by using refillable dispensers for shampoo and shower gel, and have replaced plastic with glass containers to serve breakfast options.
Venice is recovering the number of tourists that visited the city before the pandemic (5.5 million in 2019, compared to 50,000 residents in the city centre). To control the huge number of tourists, day visitors will pay a tax (3 to 10 euros) starting in January 2023 to enter the historic centre. For now, Venice applies the tourist tax on overnight stays; the funds raised help to finance maintenance, use and recovery of the cultural and environmental heritage of Venice.