Starting this November, three schools in Malad west will compete to have the most biodegradable garbage, the best recycling strategies and the healthiest changes in student lifestyle.
Orlem’s Our Lady of Lourdes Church has decided to institute an annual Green School Award to encourage an environment-friendly conscience among children of neighbouring schools.
The pilot project, which will focus on waste management
in its first phase, involves St Anne’s High School, St Joseph of Mount Carmel School and St Joseph’s School.
“We want to motivate the new generation to work for a cleaner environment,” said Fr. Nigel Barrett, director of the church’s Sunday school, through which the project will be launched. “So the competition has to have long-term sustainability and become part of the student ethos.”
Church volunteers will begin the project after Diwali vacations, with a series of sensitisation workshops for teachers and students as well as an audit of classroom waste to study children’s food habits and the quantity of paper thrown.
“We want school managements to consider whether junk food should be sold in canteens, and would like them to have simple vermi-compost pits in their campuses,” said Barrett.
Other parameters on which the schools will be judged include appointing waste segregation monitors in classrooms, recycling paper and re-binding unused pages from notebooks for use in the next academic year. The panel of judges will include teachers from all the schools.
Though this year the church plans to award just a few titles, such as ‘School recycling the most paper’, the official Green School award winner will be declared on February 11 from the next academic year, on the day of the church’s Feast.
“We will also organise field trips to garbage dumps in the city so students get a first hand view of the gravity of the situation,” said Erita D’Souza (25), a teacher at the Sunday school who has designed most of the project.
Barrett hopes that the project can soon be expanded to include all schools in Malad or all 110 schools run by the Archdiocese of Mumbai.