Gurugram: India, actually just Urban India, is the world’s third largest garbage generator. For a country where just 12% of the waste is treated and a paltry 5% is composted, it is quite impressive to see a bunch of school children confidently talk about the benefits of waste segregation and composting. These children from the Shri Ram School Aravali in Gurugram have some tangible results to show for the efforts being made in waste management. From food wastage to recycling, the children are becoming more conscious about the environment and how to care for it, making it one of the Top 20 ‘green schools’ in the country.
The entire campus has coloured dustbins to allow students to dispose of trash quickly. Classrooms have two dustbins: one for wet waste (blue) and the other for dry waste (green).
Apart from classrooms, there is also the Lunch Hall where a lot of kitchen waste is generated. To ensure that the students segregate the waste properly, the students of the Environment Society made the dry waste bins look like basketball hoops, to replicate the paper toss into the ring game. This way they hope to playfully engage students to segregate their waste.
It is also raising awareness among students about other important issues. In the words of a young member of the school’s Environment club, Jaysree, “Food wastage is a huge problem in the school. In our Lunch hall, 100kgs per day of food is wasted.”
Now this food waste along with the horticulture waste, like leaves, make their way to the school’s composting pit. Here calcium oxide is added to the waste and kept for 25 days. Then it is put out in the sun for 5 days to make khaad (manure). The output of manure from this composting pit is a whopping 200-300 kgs every month. This manure is utilised by the school itself to sustain the myriad plants and pots on campus.
Sewage Treatment Plant
Posters line the bathrooms to encourage students to reduce water wastage and usage. This dirty water from bathrooms leaves the main building and goes to the Sewage Treatment Plant where it gets sanitised, disinfected and is used for watering the field and plants.
Even the chemicals that are drained from the chemistry labs undergo an elaborate titration system where the residual mixture is treated with Sodium Hydroxide solution and diluted Hydrochloric Acid. This ensures that the chemical waste water that reaches the Sewage Treatment Plant is of a neutral pH.
Recycling – A Way of Life
The school has a mechanism to collect waste paper from all classes. This paper is then recycled and reused. The school is a no plastic zone and use of plastics is discouraged. The children try and come up with interesting ways to drive home the ‘no-plastics’ message. Last year, the students constructed a bench solely out of waste plastic bottles filled with sand and joined together by cement. This was to promote the reuse and recycling of plastic bottles and reiterate the gravity of the ‘No-Plastic Zone’.
The school also has something called the Tetra Pack Bin, where students throw their used and washed packs. Aluminium within these packaging materials is taken and recycled by the companies which periodically collect these packs.
Watch: The Green School That Makes A Difference
The Shri Ram School Aravali is also doing a lot in other aspects of adopting eco-friendly practices. Solar energy powers the street lights across the campus. The school has a massive underwater Rain Water Harvesting System with 8 percolation pits in different areas. This water is again used for watering and cleaning purposes. Little wonder then that this school is among the Top 20 Green schools in the country.