Consumer Perception and Preference for Drinking Water among Children: An Experience from Saudi Schools

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Mohamed F. Ezzeldin, Eltigani O. Omer, Saeed Mohammed Alharthi, Sadananda Acharya, Mohamed H. Rabie, Marwa Torky Abdelaziz


Background: Single-use pre-packaged plastic water bottles pose a great threat to the environment. In Saudi Arabia, a large number of school children use these water bottles for daily needs during schooling and add to the existing burden of plastic pollution.

Objectives:The present study was conducted to determine the preferences, awareness, and attitudes of Saudi school students about pre-packaged plastic drinking water bottles.

Method:A cross-sectional study was taken up in which 283 students were surveyed across 6 intermediate and high schools from the cities of Al-Khobar, Dammam, Jubail, and Daharanin the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia during January to February 2018.

Results:As much as 45.0% of the student population surveyed showed preferences for pre-packaged plastic bottled as the main source ofdrinking water. Most of the students (60.4%) indicated that they prefer bottled drinking water because it is readily available and convenient to use. Approximately 22.5% of the students had no awareness regarding the effects of these water bottles on the environment.

Conclusions: Most of the students prefer to use pre-packaged plastic water bottles due to ease of use, convenience, and availability. Although the alternative sources (water dispensers) are freely available in all schools,students still prefer using plastic drinking water bottles. It is recommended to increase the awareness among the students and the parents/guardiansregardingthe negative effects of plastic bottles on the environment and how can they use better alternatives.

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