Thursday, June 27, 2019

Swimmers Purging Plastic Bottles From Pools

Scotland’s swimmers are taking a leading role in supporting the use of refillable plastic bottles at pools across the country.

The move follows Scottish Swimming’s decision 12 months ago to stop providing single-use plastic bottles for officials, coaches and team managers at all of its competitions and events in Scotland – which is predicted to save the need for 10,000 bottles each year.

Scottish Swimming was the first national representative organisation to back Scottish Water’s Your Water Your Life campaign, which is encouraging the public to use a refillable bottle and top up from the tap to benefit their health, their pocket and the planet.

But Scottish Swimming’s support has acted as a trigger to inspire individual clubs and Districts to follow their lead – with the drive to encourage the nation’s swimmers to switch to tap water being further highlighted at the National Open Championships in Aberdeen on June 27 where around 650 athletes will compete from 72 different swimming clubs.

Carnegie Swimming Club in Dunfermline – which illustrated its backing by challenging its young swimmers to take to their pool filled with plastic waste – has removed all single use plastic bottles and only offers coffee cups that are recyclable with biodegradable lids.

Club official, Stefan Hoggan said: “We are the first swimming club in Scotland to be single-use plastic free.

“We will save more than 1000 bottles a year – but on top of that we are helping to raise crucial awareness to young people of the impact of plastic waste. We want them to understand that we wouldn’t expect plastic while swimming, so why should we in our oceans?”

Euan Lowe, CEO of Scottish Swimming, said: "Water and wellbeing are so intrinsic to our organisation, so we’re delighted that our initiative has helped to encourage Scotland’s swimming community to think of using tap water in a more environmentally responsible way.

“Staying hydrated is a crucial part of swimming, whether you are just starting to learn or an elite swimmer – and this growing campaign fully underlines that message.

“And if eliminating plastic bottles means less waste ends up in watercourses or around beaches, where people like to swim safely, that can only be an added benefit.”

Scottish Water, who proudly support Scottish Swimming’s National Learn to Swim Framework which is delivered by aquatic providers across Scotland, has already provided 500 refillable bottles and will continue to supply bottles for children at future Learn to Swim launch events.

Scottish Swimming is no longer providing bottled water for officials, coaches and team managers at national competitions and events, encouraging people instead to top up from the tap.

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: "We’re keen for as many organisations across Scotland as possible to become supporters of Your Water Your Life.

"All athletes and young swimmers know the benefits of staying hydrated - and what better way to do that than from the great-tasting water straight from the tap? 

"We hope Scotland’s swimming family will be inspired by Your Water Your Life – and feel the benefit in their wallets as well as knowing that they are having a positive impact on Scotland.”

Scottish Swimming West District President Derek McGown said:  “We have seven competitions which previously used around 350 bottles each event, so by removing their use we are saving around 2500 plastic bottles.

“All volunteers and swimming technical officers are also now given bottles when they do their first meet and bring it with them each meet after. This has been working really well and we have branded them all with the West District logo and it has had a really positive impact.

Durno Jessiman, President  of Scottish Swimming North District said: “Aluminum water bottles have been handed out to our Technical Officials and volunteers at North District meets since October last year.  

“The refillable 500ml bottles can be topped up with cold water from water urns on poolside to keep everyone hydrated. We believe this is a great benefit to the environment by eliminating plastic bottle waste.”

Scottish Water has also teamed up with Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open to issue players, caddies, volunteers and staff with reusable water bottles which can refilled a top up taps around the course.

Scottish Water’s partnership with Scottish Swimming and Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers is now helping more than 75,000 children across Scotland to enjoy fun in the pool while learning potentially lifesaving skills.

The programme’s lead Ambassador is Olympic medallist, World, European and Commonwealth Champion Duncan Scott, who won six medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia in April – the most by a Scottish athlete at a single Games – and was named Scottish Sportsperson of the Year 2018.

Scottish Swimming’s announcement follows on from a commitment from the Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews, which agreed to remove all disposable bottles in guest rooms, replacing them with refillable glass bottles.

A network of high-tech public water refill points is also being introduced across the country, with 10 Top up Taps now located such as in Edinburgh outside the Parliament, Buchanan Street in Glasgow and in Ayr town centre. Another 60 are to be installed between now and April 2021.

Scottish Water is now encouraging other businesses and organisations to follow suit and help make it easier for people to top up by offering access to tap water in their premises.

For further information visit yourwateryourlife.co.uk

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