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    Belgian free tap water campaign launches map app

    L'Atelier en Ville is one of the restaurants in Brussels that serves tap water to its customers. Credit: Archive

    Finding tap water in Belgium is about to become considerably more straightforward with the launch of a new app aiming to inform locals of establishments willing to provide free tap water. 

    The latest move by the campaign ‘Free Tap Water in Belgian Restaurants’ promises to allow users to locate the nearest restaurant serving tap water, with the touch of a button

    The app, adapted from the Google Maps tool, will list over 400 Belgian restaurants serving tap water. Further to this, it will allow users to add their own recommendations of restaurants which serve free tap water. 

    Eventually “the aim of this app is actually to self-destruct”, explains campaign founder Sarah Ehrlich. The app can carry a maximum of 20,000 restaurants before crashing, and this number would be considered a victory by Ehrlich. As previously reported, Ehrlich’s goal is to introduce free tap water all over the country; “I don’t just want the option of still or sparkling water. I want still, sparkling or tap”.

    The movement is also putting pressure on larger establishments, highlighting the discrepancies in chain restaurants within the country. A study conducted by the campaign found 97% of people to believe that “Belgium should ensure McDonald’s, Burger King and other global chains offer free tap water as they do in other European cities”, explained Ehrlich.

    Furthermore, the campaigners are keen to debunk the myth that Belgian tap water causes kidney stones.

    “There is strong scientific evidence that a normal dietary calcium intake, including the calcium provided by tap water, is protective against nephrolithiasis” writes nephrologist Professor Norbert Lamerie in an article for the campaign, assuring Belgians that tap water helps to prevent kidney stones, as opposed to causing them.

    It is through campaigning and combating fears like this that the group believes that Belgians can begin to focus on the benefits of tap water.

    Madeleine Fletcher
    The Brussels Times