The Federation of Flemish water companies, Aquaflanders, is launching an awareness campaign to promote tap water in Flanders.
Belgians drink too much bottled water, according to Aquaflanders. Tap water is healthy, environmentally friendly and cheaper, they said. Yet, Belgian people drink from glass or plastic bottles, or even cans.
“We want to reduce the ecological footprint of the Flemish people. On average, they 100 litres of water per person per day, of which only a fraction is used for drinking. If we compare, a Dutch person drinks five times more water from the tap,” said Carl Heirman, director of AquaFlanders, to VRT NWS.
Annually, 1.5 billion plastic bottles of water are sold in Flanders, which means 130 litres of bottled water per person per year. In the Netherlands, it is only a fifth of that.
“Laboratories check tap water for 60 different parameters, so the quality is definitely good enough,” said Heirman. “Avoiding plastic waste is obviously better for the environment and the planet. Tap water also means less transport, and it is cheaper. A family can save up to 200 euros a year. The only reason they are not doing it, is simply habit,” he added.
To change attitudes, AquaFlanders is launching an awareness campaign with famous Flemish people like singer Natalia and actor and tv-host Tom Waes.
“In Belgium, we are proud of the water sources on our land. There is Spa, Bru and Chaudfontaine,” said Marjolein Vanoppen, a researcher at UGent, to VRT NWS. “Marketers make it appear like that water is purer or healthier than tap water, but that is not the case at all. Tap water is even more intensively checked than bottled water,” she added.