Plas­tic gets the tap

North Coast Times - - FRONT PAGE - Lucy Jarvis

EDITH Cowan Univer­sity will start phas­ing out plas­tic water bot­tles at its cam­puses next week through a joint ini­tia­tive with the ECU Guild.

The univer­sity will limit the use of plas­tic water bot­tles at its Joon­dalup, Mt Law­ley and Bun­bury cam­puses from the start of se­mes­ter 2.

WA Screen Academy masters stu­dent Ana Vic­to­ria Neves ap­proached the univer­sity about ban­ning plas­tic bot­tles after a lec­turer showed her class a video about plas­tic pol­lu­tion.

“It was so con­fronting to see chil­dren swim­ming in an ocean full of plas­tic,” she said.

Miss Neves said the class of about 30 stu­dents agreed to stop us­ing dis­pos­able cof­fee cups and plas­tic water bot­tles.

The North­bridge res­i­dent thought it would be a good idea to ex­pand across the univer­sity and ap­proached vice-chan­cel­lor Steve Chap­man.

As sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives had back­fired at other uni­ver­si­ties due to the stu­dent back­lash, they sought sup­port from the guild, which read­ily came on board.

“The univer­sity sup­port has been so in­cred­i­ble,” Miss Neves said.

“It would be great to see stu­dents em­brace it and make a change.

“Hope­fully this also be­comes the change that other uni­ver­si­ties want to see and they im­ple­ment some­thing sim­i­lar.”

ECU will start by pro­vid­ing water re­fill sta­tions at the 40 events it holds on cam­pus each year.

The guild has pledged to no longer per­mit the sale of sin­gle use plas­tic water bot­tles at its events, in­stead pro­vid­ing hy­dra­tion sta­tions.

The univer­sity is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing op­tions to in­crease the num­ber of drink­ing foun­tains on cam­pus, dis­cuss al­ter­na­tives to sin­gle-use water bot­tles with com­mer­cial ten­ants, and of­fer free or dis­counted multi-use bot­tles.

“With around 30,000 stu­dents and 1800 staff, we can make a huge dif­fer­ence by tak­ing this first step to limit sin­gle-use plas­tic water bot­tles at our cam­pus events,” Pro­fes­sor Chap­man said.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt­mu­ni­ d484866

Edith Cowan Univer­sity stu­dent Ana Vic­to­ria Neves and vice-chan­cel­lor Steve Chap­man.

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