Meeting measure to save water

Updated: 2012-01-16 08:01

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - In an effort to reduce waste, all bottled water distributed at official meetings in Beijing henceforth will be marked with a green sticker that allows a person to make the bottle distinguishable from others.

The stickers made their debut at the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, the capital's legislative body, on Thursday.

Zhou Shuqi, an official from the Beijing Tourism Association, said the office launched a project in December with the Champion of the Water Alliance to promote the stickers among hotels and meeting centers in Beijing.

"We hope the sticker can help lawmakers establish and promote the awareness of water conservation," he said.

Cui Junle, a meeting participant and director of the Beijing Waterworks Group, said the idea is "brilliant and should be promoted".

The idea was put forth by Yan Xiaomei, a media officer at the Champion of the Water Alliance, a non-governmental water conservation organization.

He said a large quantity of bottled water is being consumed at various conferences and group activities, and many bottles are left unfinished and water is wasted because "it is hard for people to distinguish their bottles from others".

Yan said statistics are still not available as to how many bottles of water can be saved by using the sticker, but the organization is planning to conduct an assessment in the second half of this year.

"Normally we provide one bottled water for each participant, and a large conference at the meeting hall can require at least 1,000 water bottles every day," said Ge Wenrou, a waitress who dispenses bottled water at the entrance of the meeting hall where the annual plenary session is convened.

As for the current meeting, Ge said they have been dispensing a total of about 750 water bottles every day.

China consumes at least 20 billion bottles of water each year, and one liter of bottled water is made of seven liters of tap water, according to the Champion of the Water Alliance.

Beijing has accommodated about 260,000 meetings and 173 million person-time participants, an industry that generated 172 million yuan ($27.3 million) in 2010.

"If 70 percent of people will drink one bottled water at a meeting, that can make a staggering number," Yan said.