Graphic by Nisala Saheed

Ban on Small Plastic Water Bottles Comes into Effect

Read about what NYU Abu Dhabi students have to say about the recent disposable plastic water bottle ban on campus.

Feb 26, 2017

On Jan. 29, the NYU Abu Dhabi Sustainability Executive Committee sent out an email announcing that as of Feb. 19, 500 milliliter plastic water bottles will no longer be available for purchase on campus. This ban covers all commercial outlets, including the Marketplace, Convenience Store, East Dining Hall and catered events on campus. In response to the ban, the Committee has installed eight new water stations in the Marketplace and East Dining Hall. However, 1.5 liter water bottles are still available for purchase.
The ban was initially proposed by the Student Government Sustainability Committee on May 3 2015. The original proposal passed at the General Assembly with 13 votes in favour, four against and three abstentions.
“Over the past two years, the Executive Sustainability Committee, [Student Interest Group] Ecoherence, as well as many other university offices have worked on multiple projects to promote an alternative to using small plastic water bottles on campus, such as including Camelbak water bottles in the Marhaba welcome package, re-installing water dispensers across campus and social media campaigns to encourage the usage of reusable water bottles,” wrote Ecoherence in a Facebook announcement on Feb. 20.
In fall 2016, Ecoherence and the Executive Sustainability Committee decided to push again for the ban of the 500 milliliter bottles. After ADNH Compass agreed to cooperate, the policy was finalized.
Student reactions to the ban vary greatly. Kunal Thakar, Class of 2017, expressed concern over the ban.
“I just feel that the whole student body and staff should have voted on this issue as it affects us all. [The Executive Sustainability Committee and Ecoherence] had good intentions behind the action, and it is also good for the environment. But I don’t think it justifies the inconvenience, and it doesn’t seem like the school took that into consideration,” he said.
However, other students see the ban as an encouraging change.
“When a large community like NYUAD makes a commitment to switch out of the habit, it sends a strong signal to regional manufacturers and other consumers that this is a behavioral change that they must all make,” said Mitali Banerji, Class of 2017.
To facilitate the transition process, Ecoherence announced that it plans to conduct a quality test of the tap water on campus and publish the results.
Paula Estrada is Deputy News Editor. Email her at
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