Tap water passengers dispose of at airport security

Custom officers conducting security checks at the Changi Airport Terminal 3.
Custom officers conducting security checks at the Changi Airport Terminal 3.PHOTO: ST FILE

It has been more than a decade since the restrictions on carrying liquids onto planes were enforced.

According to the rule, passengers are permitted to carry liquids through security checkpoints only in containers of 100ml or less that fit comfortably in a clear plastic zip-lock bag.

Often, I see passengers having to empty drinking water from their bottles into the dustbins placed at security checkpoints in order to comply with the liquid restrictions.

It is quite wasteful to have potable water disposed just like that, and it is a painful sight as water is a precious commodity in our country.

According to Changi Airport's website, more than 65.6 million passengers pass through the airport annually.

Assuming 5 per cent of passengers dispose 1 litre worth of water each, it would mean 3.28 million litres worth of water going down the drain.

This significant amount of water can fill up more than one Olympic-sized swimming pool, which usually contains about 2.5 million litres of water.

It may not be possible to rescind the liquid restrictions as there might still be security concerns.

But that does not mean water must be wasted mindlessly.

Changi Airport can learn from Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, where water pails are placed at security checkpoints for the disposal of potable water.

The water collected can be reused for other purposes in the airport, such as to water plants or for cleaning.

Sean Lim Wei Xin