Page last updated at 22:18 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 23:18 UK

Australia town bans bottled water

Bottled water (file pic)
Campaigners say bottled water is bad for the environment

A rural town in Australia has voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of bottled water over concerns about its environmental impact.

Campaigners say Bundanoon, in New South Wales, may be the first community in the world to have such a ban.

They say huge amounts of resources are used to extract, package and transport bottled water.

The discarded plastic bottles then end up as litter or go into landfill sites, the "Bundy on Tap" campaign says.

More than 350 residents turned out to vote at the public meeting in the town hall.

Only one resident voted against the ban, along with a representative from the bottled water industry, ABC news reported.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney says locals have promised not to set upon visitors if they ignore the ban, but they will be encouraged to fill a reusable container from water fountains in the main street.

The reusable bottles will bear the slogan "Bundy on Tap".

Campaigner John Dee said local opinion had been incensed when a drinks company announced plans to tap an underground reservoir in the town.

Environmental impact

"The company has been looking to extract water locally, bottle it in Sydney and bring it back here to sell it," he said.

"It made people look at the environmental impact of bottled water and the community has been quite vocal about it."

The ban has been supported by shopkeepers in the town, which has a population of about 2,500.

"We believe Bundanoon is the world's first town that has got its retailers to ban bottled water," said Mr Dee. "We haven't found it anywhere else."

New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees has backed the cause, ordering government departments to stop buying bottled water and use tap water instead.

Mr Rees says it will save taxpayers money and help the environment.

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