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Colonsay is topping up its ambition to become plastic-free.
The tiny island, 10 miles long and two miles wide, has just turned on five new refill taps to quench the thirst of walkers and cyclists, and anyone else who needs cooling water.
The taps were bought as Phase One of a project being driven by Colonsay Tourism Marketing Group (CTMG).
But because of Covid the taps had to wait until now to be installed and ready to run, explained Richard Irvine from CTMG.
Colonsay has been fighting plastic for the past decade and can boast some of the cleanest, if not the cleanest, beaches in the Hebrides, said Richard, thanks to the hard work of former hotelier Kevin Burns, who co-ordinates a beach and marine litter-picking project.
‘We are all very proud of what the island has already achieved through the litter project and it has led the way to us becoming a plastic-free island. With just 134 people and only a few businesses, it is perfectly possible to encourage everyone to give up single-use plastic,’ said Richard.
The taps are non-percussive which means they only need to be pressed once and they will run for a limited time and will not be left on. They are made of stainless steel which means they will hopefully survive the island’s environment.
You can find Colonsay’s taps near The Pantry, Colonsay House, close to the gardens, in the north of the island at Uragaig, at the book shop and at the gin distillery.
If you go to refill.org.uk you can download an app to see the Colonsay taps marked out on a UK map. The island has five taps for now but hopes to add two more – Mull has six.
‘We are just delighted to see them being used a lot. It’s great,’ said Richard.
At the next community council meeting there will be a motion forwarded for members to adopt that the island wishes to achieve plastic-free status.
The move after that will be to get Argyll and Bute Council to do the same, added Richard.
Businesses on Colonsay are also being encouraged to reduce their use of plastic as the project nudges forward.
Caption: Kevin Byrne at one of the refill taps on Colonsay. Mr Byrne, has also just won the Argyll & Bute Regional Hero volunteering award for the Islands for his work in clearing marine litter.