NEW DELHI—A total of 10 schools from across India were today declared as the top green schools after an extensive audit of the environment-friendly practices followed there. More than 500 schools from across the country, covering most states and Union Territories, participated in the event. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSR) Director General Sunita Narain and theatre and film personality Tom Alter gave away the awards at a ceremony organized in the national capital.
The winners included schools from Noida, Delhi, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. At least four schools from the National Capital Region (NCR) and two from Sikkim found their place among the list of top 10 green schools in the country.
The top prize went to Father Agnel School, Greater Noida while Queen’s Valley School, Dwarka (Delhi) and the Government Senior Secondary School, Devnagar (Shimla) came second and third slot respectively.
The awards were given on the basis of a detailed assessment of environment-friendly practices such as rainwater harvesting, proportion of green area in school, waste management, water management and sanitation practices and availability of health-promoting food in the canteen.
Encouraging school children who led environmental work in their schools, Narain said, “Green practices should be a part of our life not because they get us points but because they are correct.”Congratulating schools for keeping their waste at a minimum – a criterion for the awards – she said this should not increase.
Lamenting that schoolchildren could not follow some environmental practices such as walking or cycling to school, she said, “This is a reality of our cities that if you cycle or walk to school, you may meet with an accident.” She hoped it would be possible to rate states on the basis of their policies – whether they were environment-friendly or not.
Challenging children to be green warriors, Alter said the path was strewn with difficulties and that it was not easy as they would face opposition. “Telling someone not to litter, or not to waste resources will get you into trouble – like it has got me into trouble several times – but if you take up this challenge, you will do a great service to everyone,” he said.
He added it was important to segregate ‘progress’ the way we segregate waste. Reminiscing about his school – the Woodstock School, Mussoorie–he said it was a green school, being located in hilly forests of Mussoorie. The walk from the dormitory to the school building, he recalled, was on a beaten track through a forest but now the path had been converted into a cement path now.
“Earlier, you could know the seasons from the way the path felt under your feet, now you cannot because cement is the same in every season,” he said.
Speaking about the process followed in selecting the winners, Ranjita Menon, Director of CSE’s Environment Education Unit that runs the Green Schools Programme, said for this year’s awards, an online application system had been followed.