Green school awards: India’s sustainability warriors

Five schools have been awarded by the Centre for Science and Environment for making the biggest strides towards resource efficiency and sustainability. Here’s what each of them did:

Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) Green Schools Programme have been trying to do their bit for the environment. (Representational Image: Careers360)Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) Green Schools Programme have been trying to do their bit for the environment. (Representational Image: Careers360)

Sheena Sachdeva | February 28, 2024 | 09:34 AM IST

NEW DELHI: From effectively segregating and managing waste to harvesting rainwater, creating a green cover and installing solar panels, winners of awards under the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) Green Schools Programme have been trying to do their bit for the environment.

The Centre for Science and Environment, a non-profit organisation working on environment protection and management, launched the Green School Programme in 2005. Under it, schools register with the non-profit and work towards becoming “resource efficient”.

The resources include usage of water, air, fuel or energy. A coordinator from each school works with a team of 60 students and takes part in the evaluation and audit.
Details of resource consumption are uploaded on the CSE portal. The CSE team analyses the data and accordingly awards ratings to schools. Those who have done the most outstanding work are awarded. Five green schools did the best in five categories – waste, water, land, energy, and air – and were awarded.

Apart from these, two schools won ‘Changemaker Awards’ and another 12 ‘Sterling School Awards’. The former have improved their rating to green and the latter have been rated green for five consecutive years or more.

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Waste Warrior
BK Birla Public School, Kalyan, Thane, Maharashtra

The school had applied last year. “Some of our practices include segregating waste in seven different categories. Even the affluents from the chemistry and biology labs are treated separately and purified. We have our own sewage treatment plant. So wastewater is treated and reused for plants and restrooms,” said Vikas Zunjarrao, the school coordinator. “We also have a special weekly drive where students from different houses collect plastic from their homes and neighbouring areas. Whichever house collects the most gets extra points. This plastic is also segregated. It is then given to a government-recognised plastic recycler which, after every 300kg, provides a garden bench for the school park,” he said. The school has thus far collected 2,500kg of plastic. Further, plastic and packaged food is banned on the campus.

Land Manager

Zila Parishad High School, Gandaboyana Palli, Annamayya, Andhra Pradesh

“Our best practices include planting 3,000 saplings over half an acre – four plants per square metre,” said J Kishore Kumar, the school coordinator. The plants include red sandalwood, teak, lemon grass, acacia, neem, bryophyllum, and cassava. This initiative was supported by the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Sadhikara Samstha which has contributed Rs 7,00,000, he said. Students are at the heart of the school’s push for sustainability. “We’ve engaged them on topics such as biodiversity, environmental safety, and the plight of endangered animals. Our initiatives also extend to the use of natural fertilisers such as cow dung, sheep dung, and dry leaves. This holistic approach to cultivation not only nurtures the soil but also aligns with our ethos of sustainable and eco-friendly practices,” he added.

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Water Wise

Lake Montfort School, Bengaluru, Karnataka

The school has received a green school award for several years in a row and has also received the Changemaker Award for three years. “We have been carrying out drives on awareness and eco-friendly practices. We started implementing such practices through school assemblies, using solar panels, developing gardens in the school with fruits, and using natural manure and compost. We also have two wells 2 lakh litres capacity each to harvest rainwater. This water is purified and used in piped water, drip irrigation and sprinklers. We have never drawn groundwater,” explained Gnanasekar Y, the coordinator.

Air Action

PM SHRI Kendriya Vidyalaya AFS Akkulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

This was the school’s first GSP award. The school campaigned to promote non-polluting modes of transport which resulted in a 133% jump in students and staff abandoning private transport for other modes. “The school strictly avoids use of diesel and petrol. The school also has 48% green area coverage within its premises. Last academic year, the school introduced solar energy as a sustainable power source. Other initiatives include a two and three-bin system, eliminating the use of mixed or single bins, recycling its wet and dry waste, and prohibiting any kind of packaged food within the school campus,” said E Xavier Raj, biology teacher and school coordinator.

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Energy Manager

Government Model Boys Senior Secondary School Nalagarh (Solan), Himachal Pradesh

The school received the Energy Manager award for the first time and received the green school tag for the second year in a row. “We have solar panels which provide 18kw of solar energy. We also have the Bloom Energy Club where 10 students from every class check the cleanliness of the solar panel. We also ensure the optimal use of energy within classrooms and students consciously use electricity under the supervision of the student leaders,” said Ranjan Lata, a science teacher and GSP school coordinator.

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