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NEW WESTMINISTER – The New Westminster Board of Education has voted unanimously to end the use of bottled water in school facilities and promote public water through educational material.

The motion, brought forward by trustee Lori Watt, directs staff to stop providing bottled water at events hosted by School District 40, phase out contracts for bottled water companies, and report on the status of water fountains in school buildings.

The school district joins Metro Vancouver and municipalities across the region in pledging to promote municipal water as the preferred alternative to bottled water in single use containers. It goes one step further though, and will develop curriculum that promotes the benefits of tap water and highlights the environmental and health impacts of plastic water bottles.

CUPE 409 president Marcel Marsolais says that his staff are behind the initiative and that the local has been advocating for the complete elimination of bottles by installing in line water filters for cost savings and environmental reasons.

CUPE members believe strongly in public services, including public water. The board has taken an important step with its plan to ban private bottled water and to include an education component,” says Marsolais.

James Janzen, Chair of the New West Board of Education says the motion was the right thing to do. “We have the best water in the world here; why wouldn’t we be drinking it?” he asks. Janzen hopes that the new educational material will “encourage children to not be fooled into drinking bottled water all the time.”