By all means, answer for the above questions are ‘NO.’ We value and look forward to a clean and healthy environment, especially within the educational institutional campus. We believe that a clean environment is necessary for effective learning as it provides favourable learning condition. A proper waste management principle has to be adopted in order to create such conditions for students. But how good are we in managing ‘waste’ in educational institutions?
Waste is a misplaced Resource!
The materials that are no longer beneficial to the society is generally considered as waste. It might have lost its economic benefit, but still possess some value, which we ignore. We don’t perceive ‘waste’ as a valuable resource, it is just another useless object laying in the dustbin. We can achieve clean and tidy environment, only when we effectively manage waste. For better waste management in educational institutions, we need to understand the concept of waste, its categories and the places in the campus where it is generated.
Classification of our misplaced resource's!
These are the categories by which waste is generally classified. Almost all these classifications can be spotted within the campus. Food waste, plastic covers and other packaging materials come out as a waste from the canteen, likewise chemicals, discarded specimens, glassware, adhesive, disinfectants and related things are pushed out as a waste from the laboratories. Respectively there are lot more waste materials generated within an educational institution. Segregation of these wastes is an important part in waste management and for that to happen, we should audit the campus for waste, which is called waste audit. Auditing waste? Really?! You may ask. Yes, it should be!
Why can't we AUDIT waste?
A waste audit is a formal, structured process used to measure the quantity and types of waste being generated by an organisation. Information from audits will help identify current waste management practices. Waste audit can be done within an educational institution for measuring the magnitude of the problem. This initially has to be started from segregation as stated earlier. Source segregation is an important step followed by collection, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of the municipal solid waste. This is what is stated in our Indian Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000 (MSW). So now, we know what is meant by waste audit and the process involved in it. To proceed with it, we should know the concerns involved in waste management. Only when we identify and solve the concerns, we will able to proceed further. What are the concerns?
We fail to comply with the basics when it comes to doing things. For example, we sweep the dust, collect it and dump it together; are we segregating the waste before dumping? Likewise, there is a lot more concern to be addressed and they are as follows.
Chocolates are largely consumed in India and has greater potential to end up as a waste. We eat chocolates, throw the wrappers in the dustbin and we claim it as the right thing, whereas it is not. Generally, chocolates have three different types of waste, sometimes even more. The outer wrapper is a metallic thin sheet, the inner one is paper-fold covering the actual chocolate and the last one is the chocolate by itself, which is food waste, if not consumed. And as per our MSW 2000 (India), we have three dustbins with three colour code, i.e. green, white and black. Green for biodegradable waste, white for recyclable waste and black for other waste. Being said that, now you know where to drop the wrappers, paper-fold and food waste. This helps with waste (resource) separation, be it biodegradable, non-biodegradable or recyclable. If it is a recyclable waste, it can be reused resulting in source reduction, which in turn leads to recovery of resources.
Some institutions put into practice of converting the waste into a valuable resource by preparing vermicompost, gobar gas and related things. Thereby, reducing the waste.
Top 8 things we can do!
As stated earlier, there are ways to reduce generating waste from the educational institution. But before that, what can we, as an individual, do to reduce waste. Here are top 8 things which we can follow to reduce the waste.
We know what is waste, its categories, and where it is generated within the campus. We also know the ways to convert the waste into a valuable resource. All we have to do now is to manage waste generated within the campus. Let us work on it, because it's our seat of learning, and hence its our responsibility to keep it clean and tidy. Many educational institutions have been known for its innovative models of solid waste management. The larger society has benefited a lot from the miniature society. Let our institutions be the model for us.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. -Aldo Leopold
Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care. Let us work together! Let us live together with PEACE! Sustainability Matters the MOST!
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