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To prevent heatstroke and COVID-19, Ibaraki vending machines dispense free cold water to students

19 Comments
By Ingrid Tsai, SoraNews24

As temperatures soar, the number of individuals who have been hospitalized or passed away due to heatstroke has increased this summer.

For one city in Ibaraki Prefecture, to lower the risk of heatstroke and to limit the scope of COVID-19 infections in schools, 14 elementary and middle schools have decided to install vending machines that will dispense cool water to students at no cost.

Each participating school in Tsukubamirai city will be given one to three vending machine units depending on their student population, and with the simple press of a button, students can receive one free cold bottle of water to bring home.

The vending machines will also act as a way to deter the spread of COVID-19 among schoolchildren. In Japan, it’s common for students to fill up their bottles at water basins with multiple faucets. However, these basins are a host to a number of germs as the water knobs are high contact areas, and whether or not soap is available is dependent on a school’s resources.

With the vending machines, it will be easier to distribute water to students in need, and may make disinfection a more streamlined process.

Reactions from Japanese netizens for the project have been overwhelmingly positive. Many users applauded the vending machine additions and some mulled over their past school days.

“Honestly, this is a good idea because you’ll often see Japanese school kids directly touch water basin faucets with their mouth.”

“I wish these were installed nationwide for kids.”

“I think this is a super great project, but wouldn’t it make more sense to stop outdoor club activities in this hellish weather?”

“Wow, I wish I had this since I always bought water after school.”

“I’m feeling a little envious. When I was at that age, I was celebrating because we got fans in the classrooms.”

The extra vending machines will be available at the fourteen schools until the end of September. 

Source: Livedoor News via Jin

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© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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I doubt that's free. It's paid on tax money.

However, these basins are a host to a number of germs as the water knobs are high contact areas, and whether or not soap is available is dependent on a school’s resources.

So instead of installing hygienic water fountains -there are low tech models so cheap that each class could get one, let's install vending machine to waste even more energy and single use bottles. Then we'll get more climate changes, heat wave, new epidemics...

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Retrograde nonsense.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

What an innovative solution!

Free water for students when teachers in schools have been drinking tea in staff rooms all over Japan for generations....for free!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

free water... um, thanks?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Bring back the water fountains, please.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Just when japan is introducing measures to reduce plastic waste, I feel like more excuses to water are popping up everywhere! More snack packaging, free water bottles for every student every day!?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In what ways vending machines will be any different to water basins if people have to press a button? Why can't we have a vending machine without a button in the first place? Motion sensors are widely used on such machines and I don't see the point of fitting them with a button- it actually defies the idea of being safe.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Bring back free drinking water fountains and water filling stations.

There is a great app that shows where free water is available mymizu https://www.mymizu.co/home-ja

And reduce energy wasting trash producing vending machines - Japan has 1 or every 25 people - mental!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Do what's right for all school children and NOT JUST Ibaraki, this should be done at all schools including H Schools.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

How about installing Air Con's in some schools, some times kids can't even breathe due to lack of air circulation.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

students can receive one free cold bottle of water to bring home.

One. One bottle of water. To bring home. That's not going to do much when it's 35 degrees and high humidity.

Besides which, water should be free. Having free water at school shouldn't be a bonus, it should be standard.

And there's no need for yet more wasteful vending machines and still more plastic rubbish. Japanese tap water is clean, safe, and super-cheap. If you want it chilled, work on a machine to do that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Honestly, this is a good idea because you’ll often see Japanese school kids directly touch water basin faucets with their mouth.”

That's true and disgusting. I've seen it done in front of me as I waited my turn to get a drink. Needless to say, I wasn't THAT thirsty anymore...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Love to get the supply contract for that one$$$

watched a documentary this morning about plastic waste. Depressing.

not sure about children, but in these temperatures adults need to drink 2-3 liters of water a day. How big are the bottles and can young kids carry a 2 liter bottle and all those books in 34 degrees?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Drinking water was always free at the various public schools I attended in Canada. I don't remember anyone ever writing about it being such a great gesture or magnanimity or innovation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What a waste. My son brings his thermos to school every day. I don't think he runs out of water. Just make the taps so you can't drink from them with your lips. More trees, less plastic waste. The street trees here are a joke. Lolly pops and fuzzy sticks. The asphalt would be cooler with less sun blasting on it. Have the city sweep the leaves in the fall.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How about no P.E. outside and sporting events in the scorching hot weather.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good Decision for students !!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Just make the taps so you can't drink from them with your lips. 

Yes, the old water fountain machines that chill water are fine if this can be done. A big sign saying "do not touch the spout!" would also help.

Chilling water makes it better and is a big reason bottled water sells so well.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Chilling water makes it better and is a big reason bottled water sells so well.

Indeed. I always challenge people to try their bottled water (which has been sitting around in that plastic bottle for goodness knows how long in all kinds of hot temperatures before it reaches the chiller in the convenience store) at room temperature. If you do, you'll find it tastes like plastic soup, and pretty soon you'll want to give it up in favour of good, clean, quality tap water.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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