|Almost ready to take off and serve water to the Milanese|
Yep. It is a new year. A year full of new opportunities. A new start in which you can change your own habits and influence the direction of your future. And after all the eating you did during the festivities you might also want to pay some more attention to your drink and eating habits.
Since last summer Milano is my hometown. While I am used to drink water from the tap the Milanese don’t like to do this. Guests who are served water from the tap seem to be afraid to drink it while it is as fresh as water from the nearby mountain creeks. But they are not used to drink it and it’s difficult to make them do so. Tap water even has the doubtful nickname aqcua del sindaco (water from the mayor).
The problem of getting the people to drink tap water is not only a problem of Milano. Most cities here struggle with the fact that their inhabitants keep buying bottled water while restaurants and bars keep serving small plastic bottles to their customers. This creates an enormous pile of waste (plastic bottles and environmental output through transports) and costs a lot more (up to a hundred times per liter). What more reasons do you need to make a change this year?
The government has already initiated a diversity of campaigns to make their citizens aware of the fact that it is possible to drink water from the tap. Tests have been done and published on websites and are constantly updated. Even newspapers have done tests to compare bottled water with those offered by the mayor. It should be clear by now that there is no risk to fill a glass from the tap and drink it all.
Off-course not all cities are situated close to such a nice source of water (the pre-alps) as the ones in the northern part of the country. We don’t have to coop with the smell and flavor of chlorine. But even here fore are some simple solutions: just leave it standing for a while and the smell will be gone.
Most cities offer running water in public rubinetti which can be useful during hot summers. It is used by tourists, dogs and other animals to stop them from being thirsty. But only some Italians are brave enough to fill-up a bottle and finish it completely. How can this be changed?
Well, the municipality of Milan found some solution. In addition to the earlier mentioned water-tap-points the city invested in (expensive) machines which offer citizens free sparkling and still water. Water which is constantly controlled and thus safe. The only thing a citizen has to do is to obtain a pass, bring some glass bottles and go to one of the five water-tap-points in the city. In a minute you have liters of fresh water.
These water-o-mats are a good idea to keep the Italians away from the bottled water from the supermarkets. Plastic is saved and transport costs and outputs reduced. As long as the Milanese come by foot or by bike off-course. But haven’t we left behind the period that we needed to go out to get water?