Margate’s Rise Up Clean Up volunteers to celebrate official opening of drinking water fountain at main sands

An opening ceremony takes place next weekend Photo TDC

Litter-picking group Rise Up Clean Up Margate will see its campaign come to fruition with the opening of a drinking water fountain at the main sands next weekend.

Rise Up. Clean Up Margate (RUCU) began the campaign for a water fountain in 2022. The aim was to install Thanet’s first public drinking fountain on Margate Main Sands, Thanet’s busiest beach.

During the summer months up to 1,500 people can arrive at Margate railway station every hour. This means that on a hot day the population can grow by up to 25%, but the waste management budget remains the same.

On a busy day, council cleansing teams can remove up to five tons of rubbish from the bins around the beach, and RUCU can remove a further 90 bags of litter from the beach itself.

The group say plastic bottles are a huge component of the litter problem with:

  • Every day 21,081,451 single use water bottles are used in the UK.
  • Every hour 878,394 single use water bottles are used in the UK.
  • Every minute 14,640 single use water bottles are used in the UK.

Thanet is now working towards becoming a Plastic Free Community and removing single use plastic bottles is a central part of this plan.

RUCU envisages that tens of thousands of people will pass the water fountain over a busy weekend. The volunteers feel confident that its presence will encourage people to refill, rather than buying unnecessary plastic bottles.

The installation and maintenance of the fountain will be the responsibility of Thanet District Council.

MIW Water Cooler Experts supplied the fountain and supported RUCU throughout the project. As the Refill reps for Margate, RUCU was supported by Refill and City to Sea’s campaign. City to Sea is an environmental not-for-profit, campaigning to stop plastic pollution at source. Refill is an award-winning campaign to help people live with less waste. The campaign is designed to normalise refill and reuse behaviour by connecting people to places they can eat, drink and shop without packaging.

The fountain will be officially opened on Sunday 7th April, at 4pm, by the Mayor of Margate Rob Yates.

RUCU co-founder Amy Cook said: “This is the result of two long years of campaigning. We entered numerous funding bids for the fountain and were unsuccessful. In the end it was the community of Thanet (and beyond), who came together and donated enough money to purchase the water fountain.

“We hope that this is the first of many water fountains in Thanet. We see it as a massive step towards eliminating the need for plastic water bottles on Margate Main Sands.”

Broadstairs Town Council also aims to install at least one drinking fountain at least one in Viking Bay, Broadstairs, this spring.

Visit riseupceanup.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/riseupcleanupmargate

12 Comments

  1. What a wonderful initiative to reduce the amount of plastic.

    But out of interest – how much is the supply of water going to cost? And who pays it?

    Is there a water meter for the water fountain and will Southern Water waive any charges? This would seem the ideal solution. Especially when they are doing so much harm to our beaches and environment with all the overflows and sewage releases.

    If not, does that mean TDC is paying for the water supply in which case, I wonder how much of my council tax bill will be funding water for day visitors to Margate? And what other services for locals will have to be cut to fund this water?

    • Even if the council does pay for the water it’ll be costing the council tax payer way less than the grand opening and the associated publicity team promoting the event. Whatever happened to the days of doing the basics as a matter of course and not needing a photo op?

  2. I remember, as a child, drinking from large granite drinking water fountains establish along the cliff-top Esplanade in Ramsgate. There were several equally distanced. The water was cold and delicious, perfect in the hot summer sun.
    They have been long gone and never replaced. So much is lost over the years.
    So sad.

  3. The unveiling of a sign at the sunken gardens, the grand opening of a water dispenser… what will the Margate Mayor attend next, a new shelf in Poundland?

    • You beat me to it, “Welcome to the Poundland Beach Resort”, what is the world coming to when the “great and good” feel the need to open a water fountain , being able to offer something the victorians did as a matter of course is hardly something to crow about, should be ashamed we’ve nat always had them.

  4. I agree. A grand opening ceremony for one strange looking drinking water fountain is way over the top.
    Why on the sands? It should be near the beach, not on it. In this day and age it will be quickly vandalised because that’s the way of things now.
    Vandalism was unheard of when I was young. Now it is inevitable.

  5. It would be nice if once they have drunk their water the people had somewhere to relieve themselves of it, especially on the harbour arm and in the old town.

    • And let them artificially boost their visitor numbers by forcing people to use their toilets? That’s just taking the piss!

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