WATERSCHOOL initiative could improve children’s health as well as reduce plastic pollution

(Ljubljana, March 23, 2020) The Erasmus+ project WATERSCHOOL promotes drinking of tap water at school through a European Initiative. Drinking tap water regularly at school could improve children’s health, increases concentration, and thus improves performance, and helps reduce plastic waste.

To celebrate the UN Water Day the WATERSCHOOL project partners today start an EU wide campaign to raise awareness about the importance of proper hydration at schools. „We encourage schools all over Europe to become Waterschools and help improve children’s health as well as the health of the environment by supporting drinking tap water at schools“, says Rosemarie Zehetgruber from the Austrian project partner Gutessen consulting.

The Waterschool campaign has been inspired by the Wasserschule initiative of the City of Vienna. Under this project over 66 000 pupils in 165 primary schools (75% of all in Vienna) are water drinkers so far! This project has been awarded the “Wiener Gesundheitspreis 2019” and the award “Education for Sustainable Development – BEST OF AUSTRIA”.

More than 20 percent of children and young people in the EU are either overweight or obese. These rates have increased significantly over the past decades. The consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is often associated with obesity in children and can lead to dental decay and the resulting fillings. Almost 40 percent of the sugar consumed by young children comes from drinking sugar-sweetened drinks. Childhood obesity in the EU has some risk factors: cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, orthopedic problems, mental disorders, underachievement in school and lower self-esteem.

These health problems can be avoided by encouraging the consumption of drinks without sugar. Promotion and provision of drinking water in schools has shown to prevent overweight. The importance of drinking water in schools is well known by teachers. But yet, about half of the children do not meet their minimum hydration requirements. To meet the requirements it is necessary to implement active promotion of tapwater drinking in schools.

Besides improving health, proper hydration is an important prerequisite for concentration and performance in school. Even mild dehydration can cause cognitive impairment, tiredness and headaches; all of which impact negatively upon academic attainment.

Every minute, a million plastic bottles are bought around the world and this number will jump another 20 percent by 2021. Schools that promote tap water drinking are free of single use plastic bottles and play an important role in helping to implement the EU Plastics Strategy.

Effective education raises awareness of the importance of water and environmental protection.

Water is the most precious resource on earth. Promoting the protection and sustainable utilization of the water resources are therefore important educational goals.

The Erasmus+ project WATERSCHOOL creates tools for different target groups – teachers, head teachers in early years settings and schools, local authorities, parents and water suppliers – to sensitize for tap water consumption and to improve water drinking at school. All educational tools and guides how to become a WATERSCHOOL are available for free at www.waterschools.eu.

The project, funded by the Erasmus+ program, started in September 2018 and involves partners in Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Further information is available at www.waterschools.eu.

Contact: gutessen consulting/Vienna, [email protected]

Further information:

List of project partners

University of Agribusiness and Rural Development

[email protected]

Centro Libero Analisi e Ricerca – CLAR
[email protected]

Ökomarkt Verbraucher und Agrarberatung e. V.

Soil Association
United Kingdom

gutessen consulting

Celostno izobraževanje o prehrani Tanja Bordon s.p.

Skutečně zdravá škola, z.s.,
Czech Republic

Institut equalita, Germany

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