Vanier College in Montreal Officially Bans the Bottle, Celebrates Water Week

Published On January 25, 2012 | By Tomás Bosque | News

Single-use plastic water bottles are a thing of the past in vending machines and the cafeteria at Vanier College.

Vanier College, an English-language public college located in Montreal, Quebec, has a student population of over 6,000 students.

To celebrate, the college is holding its first-ever Water Week celebration on campus this week.

“The timing was right,” Richard Dugas, the college’s sustainability officer, said of the disposable water-bottle ban the college adopted in late December.

An information booth set up this week in the Student Mall offers students information aimed at raising awareness about the links between global sustainability and water, as well as zero in on the problem of plastics. Students can also take part in a water taste test.

“Water bottle exist because of a manufactured need,” Dugas said. “…our municipal water is excellent.”

“Disposable water bottles pollute the environment, fill garbage dumps and require large amounts of fossil fuel for their production and transport,” he added. “CEGEP students are old enough to understand they can protect the environment rather than remain passive, thinking they cannot change things.

“Water Week aims to show them how to take action.”

One of those actions was collecting 1,700 plastic water bottles on campus – a number which Dugas said represents about two weeks of consumption at the 5,900-full-time student cegep – and building a plastic water bottle sculpture.

“It’s big and it’s ugly –  just like the problem of disposable plastic water bottles,” Dugas said of the sculpture.

He said the Vanier Students’ Association – who organized the week-long event, along with the Sustainability Office, the student environment committee and the Math and Science centre – is also giving away 2,000 free reusable metal water bottles to students who pledge to stop buying single-use disposable bottles of water.

Other events this week include taking part in an interactive game about global water resources, a presentation by Vanier students who participated in the Malawi project Water: Action for Access, another presentation of how Montreal purifies its water and  a Water Movie Festival Day. As well, students  jump in the swimming pool to play innovative games that illustrate global water issues and avisit  Montreal’s Jean R. Marcotte water treatment facility that purifies enough water to fill the inside of the Olympic Stadium every day.

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