Setting an example for other educational institutes to keep the environment clean and green, a college in Panvel has been treating its waste, saving power bills with the help of solar panels and planting trees.
These steps have also encouraged the college students to follow suit at home. To comply with the guidelines set by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Changu Kana Thakur College started with environment-friendly initiatives four years ago.
In the last four years, the college, which has 1,000 students, has recycled around six tonnes of paper and reduced the consumption of stationery to 3,000 kg from 6,000 kg. The college has also tied up with an e-waste disposal facility, which helps scientifically dispose discarded electronics. The e-waste is recycled in Gujarat.
The college has also saved Rs 1.50 lakh in power bills since it installed solar panels in May 2015.
“Many institutes take up various initiatives but they don’t reach the community. We impart knowledge to students and teach them to be environmentally consciousness. This can go a long way in educating the next generation,” said Siddheshwar Gadade, principal of the college.
The green measures have been decentralised and are handled by various departments of the college.
The botany and zoology departments look after vermicompost pits which treat garden waste. The physics department operates solar panels, while the chemistry department takes care of a biogas and effluent treatment plant. The library staff ensure that paper is recycled and e-waste sent to segregated.
“To cut the use of paper, we have installed an online system for attendance. In a few years, we plan to have an online examination,” said librarian RA Navghare.
The college garden has around 200 plants of various species and four vermicompost pits, which generate around 240 kg of manure every four months.
The process is carried out by 55 students — who are studying vermicomposting — the faculty members and helpers.
“We do not have to take students outside for practical training. In fact, a lot of our students replicate these practices at home too,” said MA Mhatre, assistant professor. Over the past two-and-a-half years, the college has saved around 10% of its electricity consumption by using LED lights and solar panels. The electricity generated from these panels is used for tubelights installed in the corridors and the garden.
“Our students have realised the importance of electricity. As soon as their classes are over, they switch off the lights and fans,” said DS Barve, in-charge of the botany department.
The college has set up an effluent treatment plant and a biogas plant to dispose of the chemicals used in laboratories.
Degradable waste from the canteen is converted into gas, which is further used in the laboratory and the canteen.
“The plant can meet 5% to 10% of our gas needs as we have 11 laboratories on our campus and 1,000 science students. But we are trying our best to complete the cycle of waste generation on our campus,” said S K Patil, head of chemistry department.