School makes waste-to-wealth a reality

Schools can provide excellent learning opportunities for creating awareness about waste and its management.  Government Senior Secondary School in Kadianwali village of Jalandhar District in Punjab is one such school where a teacher and her students have successfully set up a vermi-compost pit using waste material, which has earned the school a tidy sum.  In the process, they have made their environment clean and tidy.

The initiative is being led by the Science Mistress of the school – Mrs. Rama who is aware of the fact that waste reduction initiatives can save natural resources, energy and landfill space. Therefore, reducing, reusing, recycling of waste material will improve the economic and environmental performance of the school.

The inspired teacher has been consistently motivating students and others about keeping surroundings clean and the need to put in place systems to management waste, so much so that it grabbed the attention of both the public and state institutions.

This resulted in her school receiving financial assistance to set up a vermi compost pit.  With approval of her School Principal, Smt. Balraj Kaur, Mrs. Rama and her students constructed a 4 ft X 4 ft compost pit, with walls made of bricks.  Covered with steel tin sheets the pit is protected from rain and other elements.

Given that the school premises have a lot of trees; plant waste is available as also kitchen waste from mid day meals prepared each day.

Waste is collected at a ratio of 80:20 comprising 80% dry waste and 20% wet waste.  Thereafter it is mixed well and spread into different layers.  At this point, worms are scattered in it.  In 2-3 months, compost from waste material is ready for use.

The model was so successful that teachers from other schools showed interest, and were enthusiastic about replicating the same in their schools.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Joint Commissioner appreciated the school teacher’s efforts and honored her by inviting her to conduct a workshop to raise awareness about composting among the general public.

As far as marketing is concerned, a Self Help Group under the Municipal Corporation called Bibiyan Di Hatti has been taking care of selling the compost through their counters.

Significantly, the compost earned Rs. 30,000 and the sum has been deposited into the school welfare fund.  With the support of the district administration, the school has now increased the size of the pit from 4X4 feet to 8X8 feet.

Inputs:  Ms. Sevya Sharma, Member-State Sanitation Team & Mrs. Rama, Science Mistress Govt. Senior secondary school, Kadianwali, Jalandhar

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