Coca-Cola announces winner of water-saving competition

Updated: 2011-10-31 08:01

By Du Juan (China Daily)

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 Coca-Cola announces winner of water-saving competition

The renowned Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang's picture on a Coca-Cola advertisement during its sponsorship of the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008. Wu Changing / For China Daily

Student, 21, awarded place in torch-bearing for London Olympics ceremony in 2012

BEIJING - Zhou Hui, a senior college student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, won the best gift she could imagine before her graduation - a chance to be a torch bearer in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The prize came her way after she attended a nationwide water-saving competition.

As chairman of the Student Green Association of Tsinghua University, 21-year-old Zhou said she had a sense of fulfillment after being selected as the winner of the competition.

"We need to put our words into action," she said. "We have been taught about water-saving and environmental protection for years, ever since we were young, but it will be useful only when we start doing things to realize it."

She said government, society and companies have been making more of an effort to provide opportunities for students conducting research on how to save water and publicizing their innovative ideas in recent years.

"We have carried out many water-saving projects over the past six months, trying to work out the most innovative and effective ways to save water in communities," she added.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education, Beijing Environmental Protection Foundation, Beijing Municipal Water Conservation Office and Coca-Cola China jointly launched the competition named "Save a Barrel of Water" in June. About 100 college teams participated, entering a variety of water-saving plans.

The final round of the competition was held on October 10 among 10 teams selected. Zhou Hui was the lucky bird who received first prize.

Zhou and her team proposed a method of utilizing solar energy in their water-saving facility that could save up to 30 to 40 percent of water usage during large-scale plant irrigation. They estimated a family could save 150 yuan ($23) a year after using the equipment.

"Not just the winner, but all of the teams produced creative plans," said Tian Wenhong, sustainability director of public affairs and communications for Coca-Cola Greater China, sponsor of the program.

She said the company followed the progress of all the teams and helped the students to solve problems during their research and experiments.

"Coca-Cola is not a professional environmental protection company, but we still can make our contribution by offering a platform to support the public in participating in water-saving," Tian said. She said Zhou Hui should understand her responsibility for inspiring others to be involved in environmental protection when Zhou moves on to the international stage to promote China's environmental efforts.

"She is an ordinary college student. If she can do it, everyone can do it (save water)," Tian said.

The "Save a Barrel of Water" program was started in 2005 and covers 24 cities with a total of 1.3 million participants. In 2011, the program saved 430,000 tons of water.

Tian said the company has set up a green fund of 350,000 yuan to sponsor the students to promote their ideas and realize their water-saving plans.

Yang Ming, one of the judges of the competition, said all the team leaders who made the final round performed well with excellent projects and sincere attitudes.

"China indeed still has some problems and disadvantage regarding protection of the natural environment but we are making progress," said Yang. "So long as we can let the world know that we are continually trying, we will be understood."

As for Zhou, she said she will increase her knowledge of environmental protection and improve her language skills in order to better communicate with foreign friends and spread China's hopes for a greener earth.

China Daily

Coca-Cola announces winner of water-saving competition

(China Daily 10/31/2011 page22)