An ambitious project to spread a sense of clean environment among students initiated by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) by way of issuing green certificates to educational institutions has failed to take off as not even a single school has been given the certification.
Charanjeet Singh Nabha, senior scientist, PPCB, said since 2011 when the project was launched for enhancing green cover, no school, which provides clean and green environment on the premises, had been allotted the green certificate.
The board had started the initiative with an aim to motivate students towards greener environment. Green certification to all schools was designed under set criteria. Nabha said the board had set the criteria with grades to allow schools qualify for the certification.
RK Ratra, environment engineer, said the certification process was formally launched in 2012 and the schools were informed to apply for the same. The green certification does not only specify presence of trees on the premises but much more. The multipronged strategy covering various activities has been set up, he said, adding that the team members of the board would visit the school concerned before providing the certification.
The calculation is done keeping in mind steps taken by schools like green belt around school boundaries and tree plantation within premises, landscaping, good housekeeping and organising tree plantation programme, especially during monsoons outside the premises.
The other focus areas would be avoiding the usage of plastic for packaging food products, making school polythene free and use of dustless chalks and blackboard.
The criteria also included traffic management outside the school premises, especially during commencement and completion of school hours and encouraging use of bicycles or mass transport by extending special incentives like additional marks or fee concession for such students.
The schools with eco-designed buildings and energy-saving alternatives having good ventilation, use of light reflecting colours on walls and by providing latest electric equipment having minimum energy consumption, like CFLs, would get the preference.
The maximum weightage would be given to the management of municipal solid waste material, rainwater harvesting, treatment of domestic water, suing canopy fitted diesel generated sets, suitable hoods and chimneys and control of noise pollution. Schools would be disqualified in case the green belt is less than 33% of the total area of school and if it is found indulging in any unhealthy activity, which immediately affects the environment like discharge of effluent into soakage pits or in rivers or drains.