Kirloskar Vasundhara Eco Rangers, a college initiative by Kirloskar and Vasundhara Club, gave a boost to their mission. For the past two years, Pune-based colleges, management, teachers and students have been involved in the Green College Clean College (GCCC) mission, but this year a trophy was instituted on a competitive basis. The focus of action given to colleges included water audit, energy audit, pollution, biodiversity and waste management, and the students wholeheartedly put in their effort for the green cause.
Talking to college students we found out how they are coming up with some great environmental sustainability projects. Sawani Chothe, a student from Sir Parashurambhau College (S P College) that bagged the first prize, says, “By participating in this kind of initiative we not only came to know about environmental issues but also the initiatives that the college has taken.”
She believes that each person must make an effort to curb the increasing and alarming problem of global warming. “You can start with yourself and people will follow,” she says adding that people need a push when it comes to such issues.
That global warming can be curbed with the smallest of measures that any common person can undertake is something that people don’t realise. Talking about the simple ways in which a student can contribute towards a green, clean campus, Chothe says, “It is important for each and every student to respect the resources the colleges provide and not abuse them.” So there needs to be more responsible use of resources.
Harshada Bhandar, a student of Tikaram Jagannath College, Khadki, that won the second GCCC prize says, “Environment is very important for us to survive and it is our responsibility to protect and nurture it.” She believes that colleges play an important role when it comes to creating awareness among students who can contribute towards making a sustainable future. Little efforts like car pool, tree plantation drives and waste management can help towards building a cleaner and greener city. “People need to identify deforestation, water shortage and smog as serious problems that need to be taken care of immediately to safeguard our existence,” Bhandar says mentioning the alarming rise in pollution levels. She believes that if everybody does their own bit, the Earth can be saved.
“Environment improvement is a vital concern,” says Akshata Rokade, a student of Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture, Pune, that bagged the GCCC third prize. For Rokade, the youth are the torchbearers in this regard. She says that reusing waste paper, organising plantation drives in colleges, seedling collection as well as e-waste collection can contribute towards a greener campus.
Prachi Pande, a student of Ferguson College which also won the third prize, says, “Taking part in the GCCC trophy competition made us aware of the small ways in which our college is actually making efforts towards a green, clean campus.”
However, most people do not think global warming and climate change is a serious problem. “People need to be made aware that a little change in their lifestyle can actually contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint,” Pande says.
At the student level, she mentions that one can easily adopt the reuse-recycle-reduce mantra. “As part of green campus initiative,” Pande says, “We have proposed a plastic ban in our college campus.”
They are urging more and more students to adopt eco-friendly ways and methods not only inside the campus but also beyond, in their residential neighbourhoods and society at large.
Riya Kaul of H V Desai College, Pune, says, “College is our home and we must treat our campus just the way we treat our home.” She says that it has been really long that all of us as individuals have been a part of the environmental degradation problem, and we need to change that equation and be a part of the solution now.
“As students, the least we can do in colleges is make a less mess,” she says. She is of the opinion that change begins within us and we have to start so that others can follow. Kaul believes that colleges have done their bit but it is up to the students of respective colleges to use the resources well. She mentions that by adopting a few simple ways such as using less plastic and paper one can not only create a cleaner, greener campus but also contribute towards the greater green cause.