A new semester just kicked off. This time, things are a bit different for over 1,000 students and teachers from five rural schools in Western and Central China – they are now able to access safe drinking water right on campus.
On September 14th, Honeywell and the China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF) unveiled the first batch of five “Safe Drinking Classrooms” under a program co-launched in June to provide safe drinking water to rural schools in China. As its name suggests, the classroom will not only provide clean water but water- related educational programs as well.
A dedication ceremony was held in Qiping Primary School in the Shaanxi Province, one of the first five schools identified in this project. Honeywell Hometown Solutions President Michael Bennett, Secretary-General at CEPF Xu Guang and Deputy Direct-General of Shaanxi Provincial Environmental Protection Administration Wang Wen, attended the ceremony.
“Thank you, uncles and aunts from Honeywell. I did not really like the water at school before, but now I love drinking it because I know it’s clean and safe,” said Ning Zeng, a 6-grade student from Qiping School. “And, I know it’s not easy to get such clean drinking water for us. We will cherish every drop.”
“Access to clean and safe water is a challenge for rural schools due to water shortages or pollution and contamination in rivers and water sources,” said Xu Guang, the only national non-governmental organization (NGO) under the supervision of China’s Ministry of Environment Protection to champion environmental protection issues.
“There are approximately 114,000 schools with more than 35 million students and teachers that lack clean drinking water across the country, according to China’s environment authorities,” Xu Guang continued. “With the number of schools in need of clean water still on the rise, especially in rural areas, Honeywell’s contribution will make a tangible difference for the children and their teachers.”
In addition to sponsoring equipment at the schools, Honeywell has also sent its water experts and volunteers to test and monitor the five schools’ drinking water to ensure it is of high and safe quality.
“Honeywell is in a good position to make a significant contribution to clean water and is highly committed to doing so,” said President and CEO of Honeywell China Stephen Shang. “We look forward to our partnership with CEPF and working with its nationwide and grass root networks.
“Last year, we invested in the first water lab in China for water treatment and monitoring at our R&D center in Shanghai. Honeywell’s aim is to contribute our corporate citizenship efforts and East-for-East technologies to help China address the water pollution challenge for years to come,” Shang said.
With guidance from CEPF, Honeywell plans to better address clean water issues and provide educational programs at the five schools and local communities.