Say hello to these four aspiring students from NTU Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information who strongly believe in the role of communications in mobilising people to create big changes in our world. Driven by a keen interest in reducing plastic waste, they have launched a campaign to encourage the consumption of tap water instead of bottled water, as part of their final-year project.
Their campaign “Drink Wise, Drink Tap” aims to increase tap water consumption over bottled water in a bid to reduce plastic waste. This is their very first public education campaign to reduce single-use plastic bottled water in Singapore, in which the latter has fallen short of the recent limelight revolving around plastic straws.
“We were inspired by the ongoing conversations and trend on metal straws, collapsible cups, etc. But we noticed that there were not enough conversations and talks surrounding plastic bottled water in Singapore, when it contributes greatly to plastic waste in Singapore,” shared Erny, Elaine, Yen Ping and Pei Xuan.
The students reached out to the public in various platforms including social media and community events. Among them was Earthfest 2019 which took place at Marina Barrage last weekend. The students engaged over 350 curious onlookers that passed by their booth to have a go at their water taste test between tap and bottled water. Many found it challenging to identify between the two and were fairly surprised at how clean and refreshing tap water tasted.
When asked why they decided to come up with a water taste test, the students said, “we want everybody living in Singapore to have a 100% trust in their country’s tap water. We are very lucky to be living in a country where you never have to worry about not having access to clean and safe drinking water, without any further filtering or boiling. And not just ‘safe’ for consumption, but of high quality. Hence, we want more people in Singapore to realise this as well.”
In addition to the water taste test, the students also engaged the crowd through educational board displays about Singapore’s tap water as well as a photo pledge taking via social media.
The team is especially heartened by the words of support and excitement expressed to them, both verbally and through their social media platforms. “The turnout was better than expected. We were busy every single minute of the entire event. Groups of people were constantly visiting our booth and very much willing to participate in our activities! During the actual event, many excited visitors of our booth shared that our project was very interesting and were very supportive of our cause.”
Following their success, the team will take on Eco Day Out 2019 that is to be held at Hong Kah North Community Centre on 27 Jan with similar activities in line. But hold your horses, because that is not all. Up next, they wish to cultivate a refill culture (straight from the tap!) amongst Singaporeans instead of purchasing bottled water whilst outdoors.
“When you need a drink, simply expand the bottle, grab a refill, drink up, collapse it back, and off you go. It is not an easy feat to break down psychological barriers but we hope that through our campaign, it can help spark more discussions on this issue,” said the students.