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Author: Rebecca Bruce
Source: The ABC
Date: 10th July 2009

The New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon has voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water, attracting attention from around the world.

A community meeting last night took the unusual step, making it the first town in Australia, possibly the world, to ban the sale of bottled water.

The Bundy on Tap campaign will see still bottled water replaced by reusable plastic bottles that can be bought, then filled up for free at water stations throughout the town.

The campaign is the brainchild of Huw Kingston, who owns the bike shop in the town of 2,500 people. Mr Kingston says he is happy with the decision but surprised by the overwhelming interest in his idea.

After doing more than 70 media interviews yesterday, Mr Kingston was still fielding calls from the BBC, as well as New Zealand and Japanese media last night.

“To have that international coverage certainly took me a little bit by surprise and I’m pretty amazed that I’m still able to talk,” he said.

The locals are also stunned by their new-found fame.

“To think that the media in London and in Japan are interested in this issue and that Bundanoon will be put on the map as such, I think that’s great,” one local said.

“I’ve been watching it on the net and I was really surprised when it first started and it just kept on unravelling throughout the day,” another resident said. “It’s remarkable.”

Idea catches on

It’s not just the media that’s tapping into the idea. Hot on the news of the planned ban yesterday, NSW Premier Nathan Rees ordered all State Government departments and agencies to stop buying bottled water.

“As a principle, we want to move away from bottled water because of the degradation to the environment that the discarded bottles cause,” he said.

Last night, more than 350 people turned out to vote on Bundanoon’s proposal to ban the sale of pre-packaged bottled water by the end of the year.

It was possibly the biggest event ever to be held in Bundanoon’s Memorial Hall.

A representative of the bottled water lobby stood in front of the gathering to defend the industry.

But only one local resident was brave enough to voice his opposition to the initiative.

“There’s a far bigger health issue, which is the diabetes issue and if we’re taking away water at the point of sale that is full of sugar drinks I think we’re on the wrong track,” he said.

But a show of hands made clear that Bundy locals were ready to ban the bottle.

Huw Kingston says those looking to snap up a Bundanoon souvenir better hurry.

“Anybody who wants to buy a souvenir bottle of packaged water in Bundanoon might want to come down here over the next couple of months,” he said.

Read the full article at The ABC