MOLINE, Ill. — The City of Moline is making an effort to go green. It plans to install water bottle refill stations at the city's parks as a way to reduce single-use plastic bottle waste.
City council members recently approved spending $102,552 for Most Dependable Fountains Inc. to install the refill stations. It's being funded through part of its American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Parks and Recreation Director Eric Griffith said the stations will include two fountains, one of which will be ADA accessible, and it will also have a fountain for pets.
"This came out of data that was collected this past summer and fall through the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative and their plastics pollution initiative," said Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati. "It clearly showed that single-use plastics were the largest pollutant in our water system."
The 18 new water stations will be installed in 15 of the city's 23 parks.
"Most of our water fountains that are in our parks are several years old," Griffith said. "As we continue to look at better strategies of cutting down on plastic and just pollution in general, we've got to make these baby steps. This is a baby step in the right direction and I think it will benefit everyone that uses our parks."
Rayapati said having the refill stations in the park will be an extension of what people are used to seeing in other places, such as schools.
Each year, Americans will purchase about 50 billion water bottles, averaging about 13 bottles per month for every person in the country, according to EarthDay.org. The nonprofit environmental group says by using a reusable water bottle, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually.
Around 91% of plastic isn't recycled, and at least 14 million tons of it end up in our oceans every year.
Rayapati hopes this will encourage people to change their behaviors and avoid putting single-use plastic into the system in the first place.
"We know that if people use refillable stations, rather than bringing their water in a single-use plastic water bottle, we have a better shot at keeping our river systems clean," she said. "Our river is one of our greatest resources. This is where we get our drinking water from and it's award winning drinking water. So we need to make sure it's clean, we need to do our part for the down river cities to keep those pollutants out of the water."
Griffith said the new water bottle filling stations have been ordered and will hopefully be arriving next month, but he's not sure when they'll be installed. Some will replace old water fountains and others will be mounted on a wall.
Moline Parks receiving new water refill stations
- Riverside Park, Sylvan Island
- Ben Butterworth Parkway
- Stephens Park, Prospect Park
- Green Valley Dog Park
- Green Valley Softball Complex
- Riverside Family Aquatic Center
- Velie Park, Peterson Park
- Browning Park
- Karsten Park
- Kiwanis Park
- McCandles Park
- Miss Pattie's Park