Andhra Pradesh has emerged as the top state in the list of honour rolls for the 2019 Green Schools awards, which are given away by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) to schools across the country who undertake a rigorous environmental audit exercise to minimise their resource footprints. The state’s Chittoor district received the award for the ‘best district’, with 16 schools in it rated ‘green’.
The awards were given away by CSE director general Sunita Narain at a ceremony organised here today. Speaking at the awards function, Narain said: “The Green Schools Programme (GSP) was launched by CSE to initiate and strengthen the tools of ecological literacy in schools. It aims to support and hand-hold schools in the country to enable them to transition to greener infrastructure and practices. It is truly heartening to see that the number of schools that are proactively moving towards this transition has been going up every year.”
The GSP audit
The GSP awards ceremony is organized every year as a culmination of the rigorous environmental audit exercise that schools undertake between July and November. Says Ranjita Menon, programme director, environment education, CSE: “The GSP audit exercise provides students the opportunity to minimize the usage of resources within the school premises and opens up avenues for activity-based environment education.”
The audit has six sections: air, energy, food, land, water and waste -- together, they aim at providing a holistic picture of resource efficiency. The 2018-19 audit exercise has made a conscious effort to connect all the various issues under these sections to climate change. Elaborates Menon: “Through awareness on carbon emissions, clean sources of energy, food consumption, biodiversity, rainwater harvesting and segregation of waste, the audit paves the path for schools to combat climate change at the local level and progress towards transforming into a sustainable campus.”
About 6,000 schools from all over India – including some from remote regions -- are part of CSE’s Green Schools network today. This year’s audit received complete reports from 1,704 of these schools – and out of these, 172 made it to the roll of honours.
Menon says that “the GSP programme has been able to bring about measurable practice changes in schools – such as increase in water table, reduced electricity bills through energy conservation and gradual shift to renewable energy, 100 per cent segregation of waste at source, increased green cover, move to sustainable modes of transport, etc.”
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