Every year, India produces 133760 tonnes of waste per day. Being World’s No. 3 emitter of greenhouse gases, India’s half population has already endangered 3 years of their lives. As the only natural wealth- our environment- is being depleted, destructed and demolished; how long will we survive?
With annual Earth Day celebrations, UN has signified the importance of conserving environment to sustain our existence. Introducing the present scenario time and again, CSIR researchers have also predicted a bleak image of our future. While the waste generation is expected to be 161 million tonnes by 2041, five-fold increase in four decades, the estimated availability of water is predicted to reduce by 65% by 2025!
As the earth’s green alarm has already gone off, environment enthusiasts announce, “All Indian school children should understand the importance of waste management, the effects of environment degradation and the role and responsibilities of each individual.”
Responding to this call, an army of 315 million Indian students is being prepared to conquer alarming environmental threats. Interacting with various schools, Brainfeed was delighted to discover applauding initiatives being taken by students and teachers to paint our planet green!
Enveloped in greenery and enchanting chirpings of birds, Mount Abu Public School, New Delhi, is a micro model of an environment-friendly planet.
Ritika Gilani, Class X
‘My school is a micro-model of a green planet’. Describe.
“We love plants! We have collective plantations on special occasions. Birthdays are celebrated with planting a sapling. Gifts for visitors are always a beautiful potted plant. As a result, our school campus is blanketed with thousands of trees!”
What is the ‘Save Our Sparrow’ project?
“This project was a response to the call of the longest serving Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, ‘the major concern of the society is the disappearing of the birds.” We have created around 30-32 feeding zones for the birds. As a part of Eco-Club activity, we feed them with grains and water on daily basis. We have also created some nests using waste materials to attract the birds.”
What improvements would you suggest to create a larger impact?
We conduct rallies, drives, cleanliness, and save energy campaigns within the school campus and outside to reach a wider audience. I would like the government to initiate such practices in as many schools as possible because we students are the future of the nation. So, if students are being aware about it, ultimately the major part of nation will ensure the environment conservation.
Aaditya Sharma, Class X
How are you coping with waste generation?
We have banned plastic in our school. Even the visitors are not allowed to enter with polythene bags. We have paper and cloth bags lying with guard at the main gate which we use as a replacement if any visitor requires it. Our project ‘Design for Change’ is a platform where we reuse plastic for decorative items like pen stand, etc. We are also working on Karo Sambhav project where we collect, manage and recycle e-waste.
What is your present green mission?
Zero Paper Usage! We are working to limit our usage of paper inside the school so that we can achieve this mission. We have introduced web-based circulars where we send all the messages to the students and to the parents.
What steps are you taking to impact your community?
We are guided to spread the awareness in our societies through surveys. We conduct regular surveys inquiring about what are the wastes generated in a specific workplace, home, etc., how aware they are and what green drives they take. We also suggest them some techniques. This continuous process of questioning and the steps we are taking for the environment is inspiring other children.
What transformations have you observed?
Since 4 to 5 years, I have received training from school and brought that in practice in my neighbourhood. I have seen, especially the younger children in my neighbourhood throw waste inside dustbins unlike before. There are now new dustbins to manage waste and conserve the environment.
Jyoti Arora, Principal, Mount Abu Public School
How did the journey of a two-time Green School Award winner start?
Since 20 years we are taking up a lot of environmental initiatives. We are the member of Eco Club which is being run by the department of environment which comes under Ministry of Environment, Delhi Government. We have 3 huge size pits as a part of rainwater harvesting system in our school. We have vermi-composting to manage waste.
How are the students benefited?
Students are educated about biodiversity with variety of flora and fauna (especially birds) within the campus. We have small medicinal garden as well where we grow medicinal plants like amla, neem, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, ajwain, etc.
“We attend our visitors with green awareness.” Please explain.
We ask our students to draw some paintings with logos on the stems of the trees. This conveys our concern that we are a green school working for greenery and hope you also join us. In the project ‘Herbs and Cure’, we plant seeds, we make small plants, we sell these plants on different occasions like PTM, etc. and the money collected after this is used for further community services. So, this is another initiative through which we connect the stakeholders with nature.
A unique environmental friendly alma mater, Vega School, Gurgaon, has engaged groups of students to accomplish different projects. The participants share their cumulative experiences with Brainfeed.
Grade V Learners
The PROJECT- ‘COST OF WASTE’ was designed by us, with the help from our Learning Leader. We really wanted to explore and understand how we can reduce the harm caused to our environment due to our own lack of responsibility. We learned about the types of waste and the importance of separating waste. We worked with an NGO ‘Alag Karo’ who guided us for using our skills of compare and contrast, critical thinking and problem solving. We made separate dustbins for segregating waste, placed them all round our school and imbibed proper usage of these bins. Using recycling techniques, we created parchment paper.
Grade II Learners
Under the PROJECT- ‘HEALTHY, WEALTHY, WISE AND RISE’, we learned that it was important to use things from nature wisely. We created a composting pit using our knowledge of volume and weight. Then we recycled plastic bottles and coconut shells, put compost in them and planted decorative plants and herbs. We made organic soap in school using natural material and created natural colours from flowers, leaves, beetroot, minerals etc. We also made homemade tooth-powder using coconut oil and aloe vera as ingredients. The main skills we used in this project were collaboration, problem solving, ideation, communication.
Grade IV Learners
During the PROJECT- ‘BE ENERGY WISE’, we explored how matter, force, work and energy are all inter-related. We started our inquiry and observed that when work is done, energy is transformed from one form to another. Using our problem solving and critical thinking skills, we created a compost pit and a drip irrigation system in school. We also designed posters on energy conservation which were pasted in school and in various societies to create more awareness and help others to start these good habits.
Sandy Hooda, Co-Founder, Vega School
How are you protecting your students from harmful effects of air pollution?
We have a centralized air purification plant that purifies the polluted air. During winter months, Delhi-NCR is the most polluted area in the world, and by purifying the indoor air we can significantly enhance health and wellbeing of the child. The plant is also designed to bring in fresh oxygen, which ensures learning levels don’t dip. High levels of CO2, especially in highly populated air conditioned buildings lead to high CO2 build-up which significantly undermines both health and learning.
What kind of measures has the school taken to conserve energy?
We have installed an energy efficient system, Innovative Energy efficient Facade based on daylight analysis, the sun’s movement and rock-wool insulation. It brings down electrical bill by over 50%. It also enhances learning as the colours of Facade are based on colour theory that support learning.
Environmental crisis is extensively increasing across the globe. The number- 315 million- is representing the number of students within India. Imagine the number all over the world. When such a huge group will take individual steps to address the multi-faceted crisis on different fronts, the scenario will definitely transform.
You can start a movement today. Motivate, inspire and lead the grown-ups as well. Show your power and transform our planet. Take a pledge today and share your initiatives with us and the world.