Water myths intensify plastic bottle consumption

With the monsoon downpours in full swing and some regions, such as Kerala, suffering from debilitating floods, one would scarcely think that people would be concerned about their water needs.

But in the dorms, that happens to be the case. Despite the filtered water provided by every tap in Hostel and multiple water stations in every dorm and at school, at least once a week, many large boxes of bottled water are piled up at each dorm. Students come and lug them away to their rooms to drink at their leisure, scrupulously avoiding the tap.

One might question the necessity of such actions. Given the current excess, there is no water shortage. So, why do students avoid the water resources amply provided for them and instead spend money to get their own? It seems a strange decision for students, who usually strive to keep to a budget.

Mr. Tobias Tillemans, Environmental Science teacher, believes that people have a “superstition of tap-water.” Given that a lot of students are of an Indian background, this seems to be a very validated fear as most tap-water in India is unsafe to drink.

The water at Woodstock, however, is filtered twice: once through a carbon filter and a second time through a reverse osmosis filter, removing practically all contaminants from the water.

Students, however, still have concerns about the quality of the water.

Apoorv Garg, Class of 2019, raised his concern about how the bhayajis clean their buckets using the tap water, and this dirty water splashes onto the mouths of the taps. Some students at the Hostel dorm have also reported seeing worms in the sink.

Harsh Shyamdasani, Class of 2020, stated that the Bisleri bottles sold are very convenient and that there are not many places at school to fill up reusable water bottles.

Some students, though, have strong opinions against the water bottles being sold.

Swapnil Jhajharia, Class of 2020, said he believes that students do not think about the implications that buying the boxes of disposable water bottles have on the environment since there is no proper disposal of the plastic.

Vikentiy Pashuk, Class of 2020, referred to the school’s Guiding Principles, specifically the one that states “We tread lightly on the earth,” saying, “They are only words and have no effect on students.” He said he believes that students need some sort of action taken against the water boxes to change their minds.

However, Mr. Jefferey Doerfler, the Dean of Student Life, said, “Education and information first, and, hopefully, that is enough to change a lot of people’s minds.” He maintained that students will voluntarily stop if continually informed about the negative consequences of the plastic bottles. He also stated that a ban would be against the spirit of Woodstock.

Mr. Tillemans suggested that only a slight cultural change is needed to push people away from using the Bisleri water bottles.

Mr. Doerfler underscored this idea of a simple cultural shift, saying, “When [students] see a water bottle, they don’t think it’s anything bad.”


Photo by Vikentiy Pashuk

Rohan Menezes contributed to this article

Edited by Dhrubhagat Singh

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