Coca-Cola is seeking to improve access to drinking water for Mexican schoolchildren by installing drinking fountains that not only provide tap water but also purify it. The initiative is being carried out by the company's Mexican charity arm and will cover more than 740 public schools.
According to the Wall Street Journal, many municipalities in Mexico lack access to safe drinking water and in many others residents do not trust the tap water delivered to them. Mexico ranks among the top consumers of soda products, which is a major contributing factor to increasing rates of obesity and diabetes. Earlier this year, in an attempt to reduce consumption of sugary drinks, the country's government introduced higher taxes on such beverages.
As part of its efforts to encourage a healthy lifestyle, Coca-Cola wants to provide safe drinking water to children in schools and raise awareness of the health benefits of water consumption. Fundación Coca-Cola is working with local bottling company Arca Continental on the project and has already fitted 42 drinking fountains in several schools in the north Mexican state of Durango, at a cost of $131,000. The fountains are equipped with sediment filters, activated carbon and ultraviolet lamps that ensure the municipal water is safe for drinking. The entire project is estimated to cost about $2 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to Vivian Alegría, director of Fundación Coca-Cola, water is essential for children's development and the initiative is an effort to care for Mexican children through hydration.