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Monday, Dec 16, 2019

Green revolution boosting in Government school of Aligarh district

A growing awareness about pesticides and wax in vegetables and fruits is turning more and more people towards organic food. The idea of a kitchen garden and Urban Bagiya is fast catching up, with schools and individuals practising it with a lot of success.

lucknow Updated: Aug 11, 2019 16:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times,Lucknow
Aiming to curb malnutrition among school children CISH will help the state education department develop vegetable and fruit gardens in government schools.
Aiming to curb malnutrition among school children CISH will help the state education department develop vegetable and fruit gardens in government schools.(HT photo)
         

The advent of the kitchen garden in govt schools

Students of the government-run Upper Primary School, Mankrol, in district Aligarh, are learning lessons on garbage management. They dug up a pit on their school premises away from classrooms and now dump all the garbage of classes, like paper, pencil peels, vegetables and fruit peels, dry leaves and grass in that pit.

“When it gets filled, we cover it with thick layer of soil. Similarly, another pit was dug up for the same purpose,” said UPS Mankrol in-charge Suman Sharma, who has resolved to solve this problem of getting rid of garbage, on her own.

“After a few months, when the garbage becomes compost, then we use it in the kitchen garden. The most dirty spot in our school was the backyard, where the garbage was dumped. Today, it is the most beautiful place with a kitchen garden and hanging garden,” she said.

Aiming to curb malnutrition among school children, the Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) will help the state education department develop vegetable and fruit gardens in government schools to improve the nutritive value of children’s mid-day meal and make them aware about the role of seasonal vegetables in maintaining health.

The ministry of human resource development has issued instructions to all government schools, up to Class 8, to include the produce from kitchen gardens in the midday meal.

This entire exercise is carried out by the staff and students. “Through it, our students learn about waste disposal, besides making them more responsible. The practice has introduced in them a love for nature and a love to live in a clean, green environment, said Sharma.

“We take out time to water the plants every day. It is heartening to see that each student participates in this activity. Our school building may not be great but it is very clean and hygienic. Such activities must be encouraged among all students from an early age. They will be very excited to learn something new and build good, clean habits,” said Neeraj Kumar (class 8).

Make way for the Urban Bagiya

The Urban Bagiya is an initiative inspired by a zero wastage lifestyle, to create awareness about how to deal with kitchen waste through composting and to inspire people to grow more and more plants in their houses. This is a small but an effective step towards preserving Mother Earth, said Dr Milan Khanna, a gynaecologist and her sister-in-law, Deepti Chopra, a PhD in biochemistry.

The duo is promoting the idea of Urban Bagiya by holding exhibitions and demonstrations. “It can easily be developed at home with plastic compost bins available commercially, or terracotta compost bins, or a home-made 14-20 litre bucket with a lid to close it air tightly. Importantly, there should be a provision to collect liquid at the bottom and then to drain it,” said Dr Khanna.

The compost thus developed is very nutrient-rich organically, odourless and chemical free. This is very good for all fruits, vegetables, flowering plants, ornamental plants and essentially it is good for those living in flats, they said.

“I read up on the technique of composting from kitchen waste and set up the whole system as a pilot project in my house to find out the pros and cons in the process of kitchen waste management. To my surprise, a month’s kitchen waste yielded compost of about 50 kg and around 500 ml of concentrated liquid fertiliser,” Chopra said.

“Together We Grow’, an initiative to promote women entrepreneurs led by Dr Milan Khanna and Dr Shilpi Khanna gave me a platform to showcase my creation and motivated me to give a talk and brief description of the process. Few people realise that kitchen waste can actually be converted into something very productive and healthy for the environment,” she added.

Due to urbanisation, people are always in a rush and have small balcony spaces for plants and this compost is good for urban people as this compost promotes good productivity of fruits, better flowering, brighter flowers and healthy colour of leaves. So, it’s a win win situation in any condition, Dr Khanna said.