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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Mumbai college reuses 8-lakh litres of rainwater, prevents 4.7K kg waste from landing at dumpyards

The institute also switched to solar power and helped beautify GTB Nagar railway station

mumbai Updated: Aug 21, 2017 09:30 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
The campus launched a paper recycling project five years ago and every week students save 10kg paper waste.
The campus launched a paper recycling project five years ago and every week students save 10kg paper waste.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Dumpyards run out of space, loss of tree cover, increase in air pollution levels and shortage of water are all pressing environmental problems Mumbai is facing. But students of a Sion college have solved all of them at least for their campus.

Guru Nanak College of Arts, Science & Commerce in GTB Nagar, saved eight lakh litres of water this year through its rainwater harvesting project. Set up in June, the 16,000-sq-ft terrace of the college’s building acts as the catchment area for water, which then collects in underground tanks. They manage to collect 20,000 litres on a rainy day. This water is used in washrooms. According to Mumbai’s municipal corporation, on an average a resident uses 135 litres of water every day.

“We believe in the overall development and complete education of our students. We want to hand over a green and pure planet to the coming generation,” said Dr Vijay Dabholkar, principal of the college. “These small initiatives from our side are an attempt to ensure that we do our duty towards protecting what we have been handed over.”

The college reduces its dependence on electricity generated by conventional sources like by burning coal and gas, which release carbon and other pollutants into the air. They did this by installing a 5 kilowatt hour (kWh) rooftop solar system with 10 panels that powers lights and fans on the entire ground floor of the campus.

Apart from using renewable sources of energy, the college has taken keen interest in reducing the waste sent to the dumping grounds. The campus launched a paper recycling project five years ago and every week students save 10kg paper waste. “We collected more than 2,600kg of paper waste over three years and handed it over to a private company for recycling,” said Dr Meetali Dasgupta, coordinator, environment mentoring committee of the college.

Organic garbage, mostly canteen and garden waste, is converted into manure through composting technology installed four years ago. “We use compost pits where weekly 10kg of waste is saved from ending up at landfills and we use this manure to nurture our campus grounds,” said Dr Dasgupta adding that almost 2,100kg of organic waste has been converted into 210 kg of manure in the past four years.

If that was not enough, students from the college have taken up the task of beautifying the GTB Nagar railway station. “Every weekend, we go in groups of 10 to 15 and collect bags of plastic and make commuters aware about cleanliness and greenery,” said Sangam Agrahari, a student at the college.

Kanhiya Dhuriya, another student, said, “Most of us have understood the importance of such a project and told members of our society to implement it. It is not only cost-effective but benefits the entire city in terms of reducing our carbon footprint.”

The college recently bagged the first prize in an ‘Eco-friendly Institution Award Competition’ organised by volunteer group ECO-ROX. “The initiatives taken by the college are continuous and have been sustaining it for the past five years. It is commendable that the whole team of students, led by the principal, can take up so many measures that stand as an example for all other educational institutions,” said Rashmi Joshi, joint secretary, ECO-ROX.