Learn to save water, recycle waste from these college students

  • Badri Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 10, 2015 16:01 IST

Worried about water wastage, improper garbage management, electronic waste and pollution? An educational institute is offering solutions.

The South Indian Education Society (SIES) College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Sion last month inaugurated a rainwater harvesting plant, estimated to save more than 30 lakh litre of rainwater annually. This water is supplied to the college’s restrooms, and also irrigates a garden situated in the one-acre campus. Manure for the garden comes from composting the wet waste from the college’s canteen.

“Our aim through these projects is to develop an eco-conscious approach in our students, so they can make a difference to Mumbai,” said Harsha K Mehta, principal.

With a catchment area of 1900 sqfeet on the roof of the college, the collected rainwater is channeled through pipes into three different pits – one for filtering the water through sedimentation, the second to recharge the ground water and third to a ring well that stores the water supplied across the various restrooms. George Abraham, vice-principal said, “The plant cost Rs6,60,000, which was sponsored by SIES, Coca Cola and Mahindra finance.”

The garden the plant helps irrigate has been maintained by the botany staff and students since 2007. It includes 150 plant species, comprising ornamental, medicinal, fernery plants and even fruit trees. A dedicated nursery is also located here.

“Our nursery is around 1250 sq feet and we have been trained how to chop, clip and trim the plants,” said Malvika Kasbe, botany student.

Organic composting is another practice at the college, where close to 100kg of manure is generated from 1,000kg of waste over a span of 40 days. The manure is used for gardening and the remaining is sold at Rs30 per kg. The money from this is given to helpers at the college.

“The wet waste from the canteen is dumped at a six-foot by four-foot composting pit. We cover the waste with dried leaves and even use paper to convert it to manure. We add bacterial culture to it, so there is little stench,” said Aditi Karnik, student.

Students are provided with gloves, aprons and masks while working at the pit. “We invited a NGO to brief the students before they began,” said Rajani Mathur, associate professor, Economics Department.

Other green initiatives at the college

Recycling E-waste: Since 2014, the college collects all of the electronic waste it has generated over a span of five months, and with the help of a local NGO Ecofriend, sends it for recycling

“We collect all electronic waste at the centre of the college and with the NGO’s help, we dump it all in a tempo and send it for recycling. Close to 1000kg of e-waste has already been recycled in four collection drives up till now,” said Harsha K Mehta, prinicipal

LED lights: After conducting an energy audit in 2014, the college decided to replace the regular tube lights in most of the classrooms with LED lights for lesser consumption of electricity from the grid

“Old fans and lights were replaced and we tried to show the students the importance of saving electricity. We will also install solar panels soon,” said George Abraham, vice-principal.

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