Seek Out LBI Hydration Stations for an Eco-Friendly Way to Quench Thirst
Approximately 1.5 million tons of plastic are used worldwide each year to manufacture single-use water bottles, eight out of 10 of which wind up in a landfill or the ocean. It's simple, and saves money, to combat this issue: Say no to plastic and fill up a reusable bottle instead.
Local nonprofit organization Alliance for a Living Ocean, Long Beach Township and Barnegat Light are encouraging local residents and vacationers to do just that at various hydration stations – tankless units that provide free, cold, filtered water to anyone with an reusable receptacle, such as those made by SIGG, Nalgene and Klean Kanteen – being installed in those two municipalities.
“The hydration stations campaign was created to help eliminate single-use plastic water bottles,” ALO Executive Director Chris Huch explained. “Plastics are a huge concern in the marine environment, and bottled water is one of the biggest contributors of waste plastic to our oceans. By creating hydration stations, citizens can fill up reusable water bottles and reduce the use of plastics.”
The hydration units were made possible through an anonymous donation of $15,000 to ALO two years ago, and the organization always makes a point to sincerely thank the donor for his or her generosity in relation to this environmental effort. The water at each system, which cost about $500, is turned on at the start of the summer and typically left on through the 18 Mile Run, in early October.
Long Beach Township’s Public Works Department installed three stations last year – and is currently in the process of reinstalling them – at the 68th Street beach entrance behind the municipal complex in Brant Beach; at Bayview Park, also in Brant Beach; and at the end of Long Beach Boulevard in Holgate, in the parking lot near the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
“In addition, ALO will be providing the township with new hydration stations for the tennis courts in Loveladies,” said Huch, and Barnegat Light has agreed to place a unit at the municipal boat ramp.
The hydration station locations will all be documented on campaign partner ReClam the Bay's clam trail map, which is currently in production.
“Long Beach Township is proud to be a pioneer in this effort to minimize single-use plastics,” said township Recycling Coordinator Angela Contillo Andersen. “The hydration station project makes economic and environmental sense for our community. Plastic bottles are a big source of litter in the coastal waters and on the beaches, as we saw recently during the Barnegat Bay Blitz,” a watershed-wide cleanup coordinated by the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.
As Andersen noted, “‘Put water in your bottle, not your bottle in the water’ is the mantra” of the partners in this effort, which includes the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences and Kapler’s Pharmacy in addition to ALO, ReClam the Bay and the two participating municipalities.
“Alliance for a Living Ocean urges other LBI towns to get involved with this program and take advantage of free hydration stations for the benefit of citizens and our environment,” said Huch.
As Andersen pointed out, Long Beach Township has also taken the step of replacing “our office water coolers with tankless systems from Advanced H2O, which saves money and plastic bottle delivery. We have a total of seven tankless units” in the municipal complex, which includes the police station, as well as at the township’s Public Works building and the LBI Health Department.
She gives Commissioner Ralph Bayard, who oversees Public Works, a great deal of credit for helping see both the outdoor hydration stations and the indoor tankless systems come to fruition, and is glad Mayor Joseph Mancini and Commissioner Joseph Lattanzi are also fully supportive of these projects.
— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch