Public Values

Bottled Water Free Day campaign on March 11 in schools, universities, colleges

Public infrastructure such as water fountains not being maintained or installed in new buildings.

Campaign underlines social, ecological toll of for-profit waterA new campaign has targeted March 11 as the day students and workers on Canadian campuses take back their taps and fountains. Bottled Water Free Day is a joint project of the Canadian Federation of Students, Sierra Youth Coalition and Polaris Institute and looks at how free access to water becomes more difficult as public drinking fountains and other infrastructures are not being maintained or designed in new buildings. Bottled water corporations are moving in to corner the market, replacing public infrastructure with private vending machines.

In Canada, there are over 70 municipalities, 6 school boards and 3 campuses that have successfully phased out the provision and sale of bottled water in their sectors. In 2009, the University of Winnipeg became the first campus to formally take a stand on bottled water. Memorial University in Newfoundland, and Brandon University in Manitoba have also taken action, and other movements are are in the works.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) supports the campaign. The union points out that it is not necessary to be a student or post-secondary worker to take the campaignÂ’s tap water pledge.

Some of the issues the campaign is targeting are:

• The safety of bottled water

• The weak bottled water industry regulatory standards and practices

• The growing corporate control of water

• The use of misleading bottled water marketing schemes

• The heavy social and ecological toll of for-profit water around the world

The "action ideas" provide suggestions for students such as creating bottled water free zones, organizing classroom debates about water privatization and ecological concerns, pledge to drink tap water, and encouraging unionized workplaces, schools and other public institutions to become bottled water free.

Links and sources
  Bottled Water Free pledge page and site
  Campaign Action Ideas

Posted: February 18, 2010

  Natural resources
  Front lines
  Voices of privatization

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