Bill would improve schools’ clean water access

The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education gave a favorable report to S.251, “An Act relative to water bottle filling stations in schools,” which would promote healthy hydration in children while reducing plastic waste by creating a grant program to help fund the installation of water bottle filling stations in public schools.
“I filed this bill in order to ensure that children not only have access to safe drinking water in their schools, but that the water comes from a sustainable source.
Water bottle filling stations are an inexpensive way to engage children in issues of healthy hydration and environmental consciousness while helping them create healthful habits that last a lifetime.” The bill, inspired by the efforts of Concord resident Janet Rothrock, will allow public schools to apply for grants to install bottle filling stations in their buildings, athletic facilities and playgrounds through the “Safe drinking water for healthy students grant program” within the Department of Public Health.
Grants would be prioritized for school districts serving low-income communities, which may have less access to safe drinking water.
“All students of the commonwealth deserve access to healthy tap water at their schools,” said Rothrock.
“It is better for the kids and our environment not to get used to drinking out of disposable bottles and instead develop the habit of using a drinking fountain or carrying reusable water bottle and filling it at bottle filler.
These students can be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” Children who have access to drinking water can make healthy hydration choices by avoiding sugary beverages, which can cause tooth decay, obesity, and other health issues.
Plastic bottles are made from fossil fuels and can hurt or kill wildlife if not properly recycled.
Drinking tap water can help prevent health problems while simultaneously cutting down on plastic waste.
The bill now goes to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for consideration.

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