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More students get to drink from tap

(Global Times)

10:56, November 29, 2012

The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission plans to install filtration devices at another 300 middle and primary schools before the end of 2013 so students can drink directly from the tap, local media reported Wednesday.

The measure aims to improve the quality of drinking water at local schools and make potable water more convenient for students, according to the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.

Currently, most primary and middle school students drink boiled or purified water from water dispensers, the commission said.

"The problem with boiled water and water dispensers is that they can become contaminated if they are not cleaned regularly," said Li Weiying, a professor from the College of Environmental Science and Engineering in Tongji University.

So far, 400 primary and middle schools in Shanghai have already installed the devices, which filter the water directly from the tap. The commission plans to install the devices in the city's remaining 1,200 primary and middle schools by the end of 2015.

Li praised the local government for putting school drinking water quality on its agenda, but suggested that it still needs to consider several things to ensure the overall safety of drinking water in schools.

The commission should clarify whether the school or the device's manufacturer will take responsibility in case of emergencies, Li said.

The government should assign a third party to oversee the quality of tap water. "The devices need to be maintained and the filters need be changed regularly. A third party institution has to evaluate the quality of the tap water regularly," she told the Global Times.

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