More water refill stations to be installed to combat plastic pollution – Ka Leo

In an effort to integrate sustainability across campus and make infrastructure more eco-friendly, the University of Hawai‘i Office of Sustainability and the UHM Facilities team has plans to double the amount of water refill stations at Mānoa campus.

In 2018, the UHOS and Mānoa Institutional Research Office conducted an Earth Day survey, which had over 8,000 written responses from the campus community.

The results – “95% of respondents were concerned about issues surrounding climate change and sustainability.”

“In the face of major social and environmental issues like climate change and plastic pollution, the UHM campus community has become increasingly vocal about the need for the University to show leadership and take direct action to reduce the environmental footprint of our campus,” Sophomore Tabatha Knudson, Office of Sustainability Waste Reduction Fellow and sustainabilities major, said in a document regarding the new water bottle refill stations.

The survey suggested that the top three issues concerning the campus community were global warming, ocean health (relating to plastic pollution), and consumer culture.

“Survey respondents stated a desire to learn more about how to live a sustainable lifestyle and reduce their plastic usage,” Knudson said. “By installing more water bottle refill stations on campus, filling up a reusable water bottle will become more convenient and will help to divert hundreds of thousands of plastic water bottles from the landfill.”

Prior to the fall 2019 semester, there were 15 water bottle refill stations around campus.

“Over 20 more water fountains around campus have the potential to be upgraded to a refill station in the near future; doubling the amount,” Knudson said.

The Office of Campus Operations and Facilities ranked these 20 plus locations “by projected need and visibility” and will be upgrading the fountains to refill stations in waves.

Three of the first waves of refill stations are planned to be installed this semester in Hawai’i Hall, Gilmore Hall, and Sakamaki Hall.

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