The locations of the first 50 of a £5m wave of public drinking water fountains earmarked for the capital have been announced.

The first of the new fountains – which people are encouraged to use to refill their own bottles – are being installed from this week, predominantly in tube and mainline train stations, shopping centres, markets and recreation grounds. Designed to withstand outdoor temperatures and all weathers, the fountains are attached to the mains water supply and feature a distinctive design with a giant blue “waterdrop” to make them easy to spot.

Last year plans for 20 fountains were unveiled in a ground-breaking joint venture between the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and partners. This was followed by an agreement with Thames Water to build on the success and install a further 100-plus facilities between spring this year and the end of 2020

Thames Water and the mayor’s office are each contributing £2.5m to fund the venture, with the mayor’s share coming from cash earmarked for tackling the issue of single-use plastic.

Key to the new partnership is a 25-year maintenance agreement negotiated with Thames Water, Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor for environment and energy, told the Guardian. “What consumers told us in our work on pilots was that they wanted to be able to refill their own bottles from fountains that were safe, accessible, visible – and working,” she said. “We’re very excited about this and we are in the process of evaluating [council] bids for locations for the remaining fountains.”

Khan’s predecessor and Tory leadership hopeful, Boris Johnson – expected to become prime minister next week – announced “a new era of public fountains” in 2008 but did not follow it through.

The move comes amid growing public concern over plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. In the UK 38.5m plastic bottles are used every day; just over half of those make it to recycling, while more than 16m are put into landfill, burned, or leak into the environment and oceans. The average Londoner buys more than three plastic water bottles every week.

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