Role of Educational Institutions in Waste Management

Role of Educational Institutions in Waste Management

Educational institutions play a major role in the promotion of sustainability in our age. Waste and its quantity are not entirely dependent on the population of students or the total surface area, but it’s influenced by the type of educational institution. Educating the public and encouraging their involvement in waste management isn’t necessarily very costly. Any institutions that provide education to people is considered one of the best outlets for the promotion of waste management and it’s importance. Helpful hints that accelerate the participation or the setting up of educational programs in schools include:

  1. Working in cooperation with teachers for setting up of activities
  2. Providing teachers with the necessary materials and supplies for the execution of activities
  3. Rewarding Students by giving them extra credit points for their active participation in those activities
  4. Establishing a pilot project in some selected schools and then expanding those to the entire school
  5. Coordinating such activities with the Local School Board and the Superintendent of the School.
  6. By teaching Students source reduction, the size of the waste stream can also be reduced as it reduces the cost incurred on the collection, processing, treatment, and disposal of the waste.

Few major types of waste generated in schools are food waste, Plastic, Paper, Floor sweeping, Aluminium Foils, Stationery items, etc. The main problems that lead to the generation of such waste are usually lack of awareness, huge infrastructure, low human power, inadequacy in planning and management, etc. However, by following good Solid Waste Management strategies, keeping in mind policies, plans, and programs, we can overcome these obstacles. By including Waste Management in the school curriculum, forming student groups, and providing training to students and teachers, the level of awareness and sense of responsibility will increase considerably. Collection points should be made like dustbins near classrooms, staff rooms, playgrounds, etc. Students should be active in collecting data about the school as if it has a waste recycling facility like a compost pit or paper recycling machines. Composting can be done for turning the campus waste materials to a school resource. These methods were adopted by the students of Lingchom Government Secondary School located at the serene hills of West Sikkim. The school’s management has given high priority to waste collection. Teams of students were made and each team was allotted to go to different areas and initiate either door to door collection of waste or by searching through garbage and collecting plastic bottles, cardboard pieces, paper bits, and other discarded items. These students visit villages surrounding the school twice a week, sometimes even more. The waste thus collected is used by them for making new innovative things and every year events are organized by the students for a sale and display of products made out of waste. Lingchom’s students act as examples of motivation and inspiration for schools and other educational institutions looking to adopt similar measures and teach ways of life to their students.

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