Canadian Students Mark World Water Day by Turning Back to the Tap



    Bottled Water Free Zones Established Across Canada

    OTTAWA, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The Polaris Institute, the Sierra Youth
Coalition, and the Canadian Federation of Students are uniting to launch a
campaign to raise awareness about corporate control over public water systems.
    "The ultimate goal of this campaign is to challenge the corporate control
of water, as embodied by bottled water, one space at a time," said Andrea
Harden, a bottled water campaigner with the Polaris Institute. "In the case of
campuses, this can start with a students' union or group deciding not to sell
or distribute bottled water in their office or at events and encouraging
others to follow suit. Ultimately, students will approach college and
university administrators to end the sale of bottled water on campuses."
    Students have chosen World Water Day (WWD) as a key public event for the
campaign launch because the day has become increasingly commercialized. Faced
with rising opposition, the bottled water industry has attempted to use WWD to
promote their social responsibility campaigns and wash away their image as
major private water-takers promoting environmentally destructive products. By
participating in the official launch of this campaign, Canadian students are
helping to bring WWD back to its roots.
    "By engaging their campuses to establish bottled water free zones,
students are using their power to challenge the privatization of one of our
most basic human rights, water, and showing their commitment to making
sustainability a core value of their campus communities," said Monique
Woolnough, Ontario Sustainable Campuses Coordinator.
    Bottled water free zones are created when policies are put into place
ending the sale and distribution of bottled water and steps are taken to
encourage the consumption of tap water and raise awareness about the problems
with the bottle water industry. This includes exposing the negative
environmental and social impacts of bottled water. Environmental impacts
include the use of fossil fuels to make plastic bottles, the release of toxic
chemicals during the production of the bottles, contributing to global warming
in the transportation of bottled water and increasing plastic waste. Social
impacts include using manipulative marketing campaigns to undermine confidence
in tap water and public water systems. The bottled water industry has been so
successful that people pay more for a litre of bottled water than they pay for
a litre of gasoline.
    "Students are at the forefront of the fight against the privatization of
public resources," said Amanda Aziz, National Chairperson of the Canadian
Federation of Students. "Establishing bottled water free zones is an easy and
effective way of resisting water privatization and promoting sustainable
alternatives."
    In addition to creating bottled water free zones, several Canadian
college and university campuses will feature water awareness activities this
week such as blind taste tests of bottled water versus tap water and 'towers
of consumption' built from empty water bottles.

    The Inside the Bottle campaign is a Polaris Institute project designed to
stimulate citizen awareness about the bottled water industry. The Sierra Youth
Coalition's Sustainable Campuses project aims to empower students to lead
initiatives on their campuses toward greater social, ecological and economic
sustainability through changes to campus operations, curricula and culture.
The Canadian Federation of Students represents over one half million Canadian
students and provides them with an effective and untied voice, provincially
and nationally.

    Campus Bottled Water Free Zones
    University of Ottawa, Ontario
    Department of Geography
    Women's Resource Centre
    Student Federation of the University of Ottawa's office and meetings
    Institute of the Environment
    Department of Biology
    Physical Resource Services
    1848, undergraduate campus pub
    Café Nostalgica, graduate pub
    Oxfam University of Ottawa
    Green Campus

    University of PEI
    Environmental and Sustainability Society

    Concordia, Quebec
    TAPthirst
    QPIRG Concordia
    Sustainable Concordia

    Memorial University, Newfoundland
    MUN Students for Sustainability Coalition

    Brock University, Ontario
    OPIRG-Brock

    Guelph University, Ontario
    College of Biological Science-Student Council
    Graduate Engineering Society
    NDP Youth, Guelph
    Engineers Without Borders, (EWB)
    Ontario Public Interest Research Group, (OPIRG- Guelph)
    The Peak, magazine on campus
    Guelph student for the ethical treatment of animals (GSETA)
    Guelph Engineering Society (undergraduate student club)
    Ecohouse (Campus residence)
    Environmental Sciences Student Executive
    CFRU 93.3 FM, campus radio station
    Guelph Students for Ethical Treatment of Animals (GSETA)
    Muslim Students Association

    Sir Flemming College, Ontario
    Sustainability Office, Frost campus

    Waterloo University, Ontario
    University of Waterloo Sustainability Project
    Waterloo Public Interest Group

    Trent University, Ontario
    Trent Central Students Association office

    Ryerson University, Ontario
    Working Students' Centre, Ryerson Students' union

    University of Winnipeg
    University of Winnipeg Students' Association's Soma Café
    Ecological Males and Females In Action (EcoMAFIA)

    University of Manitoba
    University of Manitoba Students' Union office

    Langara College, BC
    Langara College Student's Association office

    Queen's University, Ontario
    Tea Room

    Thompson Rivers University, BC
    Tru Eco Committee

    George Brown College, Ontario
    Student association and faculty environmental group are considering a
    resolution to become zones later this month




For further information:

For further information: Andrea Harden, Bottled Water Campaigner,
Polaris Institute, (613) 237-1717 ext. 102, andi@polarisinstitute.org,
www.insidethebottle.org; Monique Woolnough, Ontario Sustainable Campuses
Coordinator, Sierra Youth Coalition, (416) 537-3616, (647) 637-7063,
ontario@syc-cjs.org, www.syc-cjs.org/sustainable; Ian Boyko, Campaigns and
Government Relations Coordinator, Canadian Federation of Students, (613)
261-7939, www.cfs-fcee.ca/sustainability

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POLARIS INSTITUTE

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