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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Solar energy, vertical gardens, waste management: Mumbai college teaches green lessons to its students

The Smt Kamaladevi Gauridutt (KG) Mittal College of Arts and Commerce uses solar energy to cater to 25% of its electricity requirements, which helps it save Rs 27,500 every month in electricity bills.

mumbai Updated: Aug 19, 2019 09:01 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai’s Smt Kamaladevi Gauridutt (KG) Mittal College of Arts and Commerce  has  developed vertical gardens on its eight-foot-high compound walls.
Mumbai’s Smt Kamaladevi Gauridutt (KG) Mittal College of Arts and Commerce has developed vertical gardens on its eight-foot-high compound walls.(HT Photo )
         

In order to ensure the environment around them stays green, a college in Malad has adopted numerous eco-friendly measures: generating solar energy, recycling waste, vertical gardens and botanical gardens.

The Smt Kamaladevi Gauridutt (KG) Mittal College of Arts and Commerce, run by the Marwari Vidyalaya Trust in Malad (West) has a sprawling 29,000 square foot campus with 3,700 students. It uses solar energy to cater to 25% of its electricity requirements, which helps it save Rs 27,500 every month in electricity bills.

By recycling waste at source, the college treats its canteen waste through organic composting, thereby generating nutrient rich manure for potted plants and trees on campus.

“The idea has always been to go green, and now we are fulfilling it,” said Dr SB Arya, director of the college.

The college’s rooftop space has 58 solar panels with a capacity of 20 kilowatt-power (kWp) that generate an average of 76 units per day or 28,000 units in a year.
The college’s rooftop space has 58 solar panels with a capacity of 20 kilowatt-power (kWp) that generate an average of 76 units per day or 28,000 units in a year. ( HT Photo )

It has also developed vertical gardens on its eight-foot-high compound walls. Next week, they will inaugurate a botanical garden, which will be home to 45-50 saplings of ayurvedic plants.

“Having green spaces within the college automatically builds an ambience of being close to nature. We adopted renewable energy to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels to generate electricity, while waste management is being done to reduce the burden from landfills.”

The brainchild of this green initiative was Rajendra Mittal, secretary of the trust, said Dr Arya.

Spread across 1,500 of 6,000 square foot rooftop space, 58 solar panels with a capacity of 20 kilowatt-power (kWp) generate an average of 76 units per day or 28,000 units in a year.

By May 2020, the college plans to become ‘zero energy’ (generating its own electricity) by completely depending on solar. It also plans to add another 60 kWp across 4,500 square foot area remaining on their rooftop.

“We calculated that the college is currently saving 14 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year by adopting solar. This is likely to increase significantly by May next year,” said Muhammad Sohail Shaikh from MSS Renewtech that installed the solar project. “Solar power helps the college save Rs 27,500 per month in electricity bills.”

Emission from polluting thermal and power industries in Mumbai contributes to 36% of total particulate pollution for the city. Adopting renewable energy is a cost-effective method to cut down on such emission sources.

Meanwhile, the college generates three-four kgs of discarded food waste every day.

“We use large pots setup at one end of the college and bio-culture [in the form of powder] to breakdown waste. Manure collected within a week is used at the vertical garden, potted plants on campus, and will soon nurture the botanical garden,” said Dr Arya.

BMC’s environment status report 2017-18 showed 73% of Mumbai’s total discards came from food waste. Treating waste at source reduces carbon footprint, decreases dependency on garbage trucks, which in turn, reduces traffic congestion, suppresses diseases and harmful pests. The impact of the green initiatives has trickled down to students as well. “Rather than throwing plastic bottles, they are using them to plant small saplings at home making the best out of waste,” Dr Arya said.

First Published: Aug 19, 2019 00:25 IST

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