Local authorities can play an important role in promoting environmental awareness by setting an example. After all, actions speak louder than words, as the traditional saying goes. It is important to disseminate information that educates people about environmental issues, but it’s just as important, or possibly even more so, to demonstrate practical ways to make a difference.
A simple way for a local authority to show their commitment to environmental reform, and specifically a reduction in water wastage, is to replace flushing public urinals with waterless units.
Flushing urinals use a significant amount of water – especially in high-traffic areas like public bathrooms. Often these facilities are located in buildings owned by or under the jurisdiction of local authorities. Replacing the public urinals in the buildings they own or control with a waterless urinal sends a strong message and sets the example.
This can be followed up with a program aimed at encouraging businesses and other entities to follow suit. It may even be worthwhile to offer some incentive (financial or other) to organizations that embrace the change to waterless public urinals.
In time, it may be necessary to use legislation and local bylaws to force uncooperative entities to do the right thing. However, using a combination of incentives and public recognition for early adopters is preferable, as it is focused on rewarding positive actions rather than punishing those who fail to take the necessary steps to reduce water usage. Public and peer pressure is a powerful force that can be used for good by local authorities – but they need to lead by example.