New Delhi: “Indian schools, we find, are increasingly becoming conscious of their natural environments and resources, and the criticality of managing them sustainably. This is becoming evident from the growing numbers of schools which are joining our Green Schools Programme audit exercises and working seriously to make a difference,” said Sunita Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), while inaugurating the Annual Green Schools Programme (GSP) award ceremony here today.
This year, 2,863 schools from 29 states and five Union territories registered for the GSP environmental audit. Of these, 1,193 schools submitted their completed audit reports to CSE. This points to a 12 per cent and 40 per cent jump in registrations and audit report submissions, respectively.
Thirteen schools out of the 34 shortlisted were presented the awards in various categories.
Narain told the gathering: “This year, we have found that the schools which claim to be green, are really and truly green. In this green exam, 54 schools have been assessed by CSE to be scoring an above 70 per cent mark. This is a big number, but we need more. We must walk the talk. We must – and will — be the change. The possibility and hope that we see for this change is what excites us.”
Among the top winners of the 2017-18 awards are two schools from Kerala, and one each from Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan (see below for details).
Elaborating on GSP, Ranjita Menon, programme director-environment education, CSE, said: “CSE’s Green Schools Programme awards schools in India every year for their resource-efficiency – low water use, energy efficiency, low waste generation, harvesting and recycling of water, and providing a healthier space for its occupants as compared to a conventional building. An online audit programme provides schools with a methodology to identify and plug the gaps in their environment management practices and move towards resource consumption.”
Menon adds: “This year, our assessment brings out encouraging figures – 119 schools use solar power, 434 practise rainwater harvesting, 269 treat their wastewater, 917 segregate waste at source, 581 practise composting, and 403 dispose off their e-waste responsibly by sending it to back to dealers, manufacturers or dismantlers.”
THE TOP ONES
Change Makers of the Year and what they have been awarded for:
Delhi Public School (DPS), Patna, Bihar
Water: The school has constructed recharge trenches to collect water from paved areas; devised its own equipment to calculate water levels before and after monsoons; and has its own elaborate rainwater harvesting structure.
Air: 97 per cent of the school population commutes by school buses; the rest either walk or cycle to school.
Food and waste: The school has said no to packaged juices this year; placed separate bins for wet and dry waste across 86 collection points within the school; and has its own paper recycling machine.
The Fab India School, Pali, Rajasthan:
Energy: In 2017, the school installed 10 kiloWatts (kW) of solar power, which increased its cumulative solar capacity to 13.5 kW. With this addition, the school now draws almost 90 per cent of its power from solar energy. It has also begun the process of replacing old bulbs with energy-efficient CFL and LED lights.
Waste: All classrooms have been equipped with two waste bins. The food and horticulture waste is sent to a compost facility. The compost thus generated is used in an organic food farm.
Water: The school, which began harvesting rainwater in 2017, has retrofitted the roof of one of the buildings to collect rainwater, which is then directed to an open well for underground recharge.
Food: Distribution of packaged food has been banned. Children bring only home-cooked food to school.
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Army Cantt, Pangode, Kerala:
Green cover: More than 50 per cent of the school area is under green cover.
Air: 71 per cent of the school population uses sustainable modes of transport; 8 per cent uses non-polluting modes such as walking and cycling.
Waste: Waste from the school is used as fuel for its biogas plant, which ensures regular supply of gas; the school has completely banned plastic within its premises.
Water: Rainwater is channelised from various trenches to recharge the school’s groundwater; some of it is allowed to flow down to the adjoining forest and join the river Karamana.
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ottapalam, Kerala:
Energy: The school has recorded savings in electricity bills over a period of one year. Solar energy powers the administrative block of the school. A biogas plant, with waste storage capacity of 50 kg, produces around 10 kg of gas.
Air: Only 1 per cent of the school’s population relies on private vehicles.
Waste: The school practices the principle of ‘reduce your trash’. Primary classes have a two-bin system. The last period of the day has a five-minute slot dedicated to waste collection.
Water: An old rainwater harvesting structure has been renovated. Water from the shed is directed to an underground rainwater storage tank. The stored water is used in the school’s toilets, and for mopping and gardening.
THE TOP ONES
Awards in Individual Categories
These awards recognise the best practices in individual categories of the GSP Audit 2017. The winners are:
Energy: East Point School, Delhi
Water: Gyanodaya Vidya Mandir, Damoh, Madhya Pradesh
Waste: Indirapuram Public School, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
Air: Kendriya Vidyalaya 1, RCF, Kapurthala, Punjab
Food: Pragyan School, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh
Land: DRV Dav Centenary Public School, Jalandhar, Punjab
41 other ‘green’ schools have also been recognised under the GSP programme, based on their overall performance in resource efficiency within the school premises.
The ‘New Entrant’ Category
The following schools have now registered to be a part of the programme and have demonstrated considerable potential in managing their natural resources:
Choithram International, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
New Digamber Public School, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Said Narain: “The future is in our hand to mould. We know our environment is imperilled. We can’t breathe, we’ve destroyed our rivers. But the power is also ours to bring about change and therefore, the Green Schools network is an inspiration. These numbers that we have today show that the potential is there.”