The city is fighting litter head on by offering water fountains along Kelly Drive from East Falls to Boathouse Row.
“Our water is award-winning,” Mayor Michael Nutter said. “So, to combat plastic disposable water bottles, we are installing water stations with recreation in mind.”
The water kiosks will be largely visible to the hundreds of Philadelphians that walk, run and bike along Kelly Drive every day. They have been specially designed to offer a traditional water fountain, a water bottle refill station and a small ground-level dog bowl for dogs.
The water fountains along Kelly Drive will be installed by spring, according to Nutter, and the city hopes eventually to implement the program throughout Center City and Fairmount Park.
Officials with the mayor’s office expressed gratitude and excitement over the project, praising the quality of Philadelphia’s tap water and the potential to reduce waste along the river.
“Providing quality experience for tens of thousands of people every day is the most important thing we can do,” Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardis, who oversees some activities in the Parks and Recreation department, said. “And we can do that, and do it in a way that conserves water, that is sustainable and continues to green Philadelphia.”
Data collected by the Philadelphia Water Department suggested that 55 percent of all litter in the Schuykill river was plastic, and of that 55 percent, 77 percent was plastic water bottles.
The city has encouraged a new social media campaign, #DrinkTapPHL, to spread the message that environmental sustainability is among the city’s priorities.
“The city encourages all events, not just along the river, to follow this example and partner with us to keep our natural resources clean and litter-free,” Nutter said.