Eco-Schools in India

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Akshata Mishra-

Delhi Public School, Banglore (East) made a conscious decision of making the use of steel cups as against paper cups for their daily tea. It has helped the school to save the cost of paper cups and generate less waste. They have also adopted a means to sustainably dispose the waste water generated by the washing of utensils, wherein it is treated and purified in a Treatment Plant, that is setup in the school itself.

A biodiversity audit was done by Universal High Dahisar, within the school premises. The Vasishtha Group of Schools held a program to demonstrate the importance of good water conservation practices in students of class 1. They were also given an insight into eco-friendly houses and were engaged in creating models of the same. The students were taught the use of bio gas, rooftop rainwater harvesting, solar energy and other sustainable means to generate energy.

These schools are a part of the eco-school initiative by UNESCO.

Eco- schools India is offered by the Centre for Environment Education, a Centre of Excellence in Environment Education and Education for Sustainable Development under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. India is one of the 60 countries which are a part of this initiative.

Eco-school aims to inculcate environment education and create awareness among pupils about sustainable growth and development, particularly by partaking students from classes 1 to 5. It engages young people by providing to them the opportunity to engage in their environment and actively protect it. It seeks to foster student leadership through Eco Committee lead by students. It aims to nurture management skills in students through the In Action Plan, focussing on not more than three skills at a time. There is also the development and consolidation of the spirit of team work by requiring the committee to charter the Environment Action Plan.

The goal of eco-schools is to produce a generation of sustainably minded and environmentally conscious people. It is to instil in them the knowledge of the importance of the conservation of environment and the fostering of habits which will aid it.

Each school follows a seven step change process. The whole process is such that a wide variety of individuals are required and able to participate in it. They are:

  • Form an Eco-Committee
  • Carry out an Environmental Review
  • Action Plan
  • Monitor and Evaluate
  • Curriculum Work
  • Inform and Involve
  • Produce an Eco Code

After two years of the implementation of the program and being able to reach the requisite level of performance and output, the schools are usually offered a green flag by the Environment Minister of the state. Quite a few schools in India, mostly in metropolitan cities have been able to scale this feat, already. An assessment is carried out before the green flag is given to a school. After that, a yearly assessment is carried out in the school.

India is one of the major countries contributing to the International Solar Alliance, an initiative to harness the vast resource of solar energy. The United Nations Under Secretary General and Head, Erik Solheim made the announcement that India will host World Environment Day on June 5, along with India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan.

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