The University of Winnipeg will become the first university in Canada to ban the sale of bottled water on campus, the school announced today.
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According to the university, the bottles will be phased out of vending machines and cafeterias over the next few months, and will be totally eliminated by Fall 2009.
The school plans to audit its water system to make sure all fountains and taps provide safe, clean water, and that there will be enough access to water for all students.
More than 38,000 bottles of water are currently sold on its campus every year.
With the support of the Canadian Federation of Students, every first-year student will be provided with a free, reusable water bottle, according to the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association.
In a referendum held last week, three-quarters of students voted to eliminate the sale of bottled water. The students’ association also recently voted to ban the bottles, which environmental groups say are a terrible pollutant.
“The fact that we have joined with our [school’s] administration and taken ownership over our environmental impact on campus sends a strong message across the country,” said student association president Vinay Iyer in a press release.
University president Lloyd Axworthy told The Canadian Press the ban is part of a growing awareness around the world about the importance of accessible water.
He says the university is happy to reduce needless plastics on campus.