Ban the Bottle, Increase Backlash?
University of Toronto students, hot on the heels of the country’s largest university banning the sale of bottled water, recently showed increasing concern for convenient, healthy ways to stay hydrated on campus.
We’ve shown you a variety of ways other colleges and universities have increased accessibility to clean drinking water through the installation of hydration stations or even a drinking water fountain renaissance.
Officially carried out this fall, the ban ensures that water is no longer sold at campus cafés, libraries, and other U of T buildings.
However, many students are responding negatively to the ban. They argue that there was no adequate transition period that enabled them to adjust to an absence of bottled water on campus.
Some students criticized U of T for not installing enough water fountains and water refilling stations to accommodate the lack of bottled water.
Third-year student Supriya Joshi spoke against the inefficiency of the university’s decision. “You have to ensure the necessary accommodations before you get rid of water. It’s like writing an essay before you do the research,” she said.
“I feel that it’s a decision that was made as a feel-good project because it has made no difference. There’s not less plastic, there’s just less water,” she continued.
Joshi described the inconvenience of travelling to off-campus locations for bottled water and resorting to bottled juices from the university’s vending machines when thirsty.
Coincidentally, she wasn’t alone in her disapproval of the new bottled water ban. A Facebook group entitled “Bring Back Bottled Water at U of T” has emerged in response to the University’s actions.
The Facebook group petitions to bring back the students’ right to choose whether or not they want to buy bottled water.
It highlights the inconvenience to students — again referring to a lack of accommodation — and questions the reasoning behind the university’s decision. The group also argues that students can still purchase other bottled drinks and canned beverages that pose equal health and environmental risks as they too contain BPA.
Although U of T is to remain a bottled water free zone, UTSU is lobbying for the installation of additional accommodations.
“The University needs to ensure that there is a plan to ensure public water infrastructure which includes developing public and accessible water fountains and refilling stations,” said Scott. “We will continue to push for establishing more fountains and ensure that people can get water for free from cafeterias, like is currently possible at Hart House, [and we will work] with administration to ensure that students have access to water.”
[via The Varsity]