They go to school, they study, and they also lend a helping hand to the Goa government’s drive for proper segregation and collection of waste.
Thousands of students from over 400 schools across the coastal state have become ‘foot soldiers’ for the initiative, taken up by the Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC), an official said.
With the help of students, the state-run body has been collecting a total of about 17 tonnes of segregated waste from the schools every month, he said.
The high school students are playing a pivotal role in the initiative by meticulously segregating the garbage and disposing it in bins. The waste is then shifted to the treatment plant at Saligao near Panaji, GWMC Managing Director Sanjith Rodrigues told PTI.
Students from 403 schools are a part of the project.
In each school, the drive is led by a nodal officer, who is a teacher from the same institution, he said.
GWMC, set up a few years back to tackle the garbage issue, has introduced the concept of ‘four bins’ in schools.
“Separate bins are kept in schools for wastes like glass and metal, paper and card board, non-recyclable waste, and plastic,” Rodrigues said.
Students make sure that the garbage goes in the right bin, which is then collected by GWMC vehicles, he said.
“With the exception of holidays, about 17 tonnes of dry waste is collected from schools every month which otherwise would have been left scattered around,” he said.
When the initiative was started with a few schools in July last year, the corporation could collect only 0.5 tonnes of waste per month.
But, as the awareness about proper disposal of waste grew among students and more and more schools enrolled in the exercise, the amount of garbage collection also went up, Rodrigues said
He said efforts were being made to include topics related to garbage management, including ‘zero waste’, in the environment science syllabus for high school students.
GWMC has already submitted a draft of topics that could be a part of the syllabus, to the state-run Goa Education Development Corporation, he said.
Rodrigues said they want the curriculum to be included in all classes in schools and also in the Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) training course for teachers.