The San Mateo County Harbor District agreed to fund a new water bottle refill station at the public restrooms near Johnson Pier as part of an ongoing community service project started by a local Girl Scout.
The idea was spawned at the Harbor Commission meeting last month when Amiya Iqbal, an eighth-grade Girl Scout from El Granada, presented her proposal of installing a water bottle refill station in Pillar Point Harbor as part of her entry for the Girl Scouts Silver Award. The award is given to scouts who best address sustainability issues in their community.
Iqbal highlighted how the station would reduce dependency on plastic water bottles, which are frequently seen by environmentalists as a symbol of pollution and degradation because of the harmful chemicals and lingering microplastics associated with the bottles.
“My ongoing project is about saving the oceans and beaches of Half Moon Bay and El Granada by reducing plastic waste,” Iqbal said.
Iqbal, who reached out to the Surfrider Foundation and the nonprofit Sea Hugger to help with outreach and follow-up, said she would crowdsource funds and contribute from her own jewelry business.
After the presentation, commissioners commended Iqbal for her initiative and unanimously approved the project and agreed to fund the entire project up to $15,000.
The district’s staff report estimates the total expenses, which include the initial purchase and hiring a contractor for installation, will be less than $10,000. Some stations go between $1,800 and $2,500, with installation costs ranging between $2,000 and $3,000, according to a district staff report.
Harbor District Director of Operations John Moren said the district wanted to fund Iqbal’s project in its entirety so there would be no delays in construction. Moren noted that Iqbal is still looking for additional funds but hasn’t been successful so far.
The Harbor District is in the process of building another water bottle fill station as part of the RV Park and Surfer’s Beach restroom and green space project.
Iqbal believed Johnson Pier would be an ideal place to have one because of its popularity among locals and visitors, the existing plumbing, and visibility near the ocean.