Turn on the tap: EU acts to improve water, reduce plastic

BRUSSELS — The European Union is revamping its water quality rules to address possible new health hazards and limit plastic waste by discouraging people from drinking bottled water.

The European Commission said Thursday the rules will oblige the bloc's 28 countries to improve access to drinking water and better inform citizens about water quality, be it from taps or bottles. It hopes the move will improve confidence in local tap water and wean people off bottles, which are among the most common plastic items found on European beaches.

Tap water in Europe costs a fraction of a euro cent per liter, sharply less than bottled water. Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans says "if people know what is cheaper for them and not hazardous to their health, they might make a different choice."

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This version corrects that tap water in Europe costs a fraction of a euro cent, not fraction of a euro.

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