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Here’s the story of a school’s transformational journey from leaf burning to leaf composting!

It is that time of the year again when the city is engulfed with smoke and soot, thanks to the countless fires set out for burning leaves amongst other things. Schools which are supposed to be proponents of environmental education, themselves, burn leaves on their campuses. Classroom lessons stay in the class itself and hardly much is applied outside in the real world. With such state of affairs, how can we expect children to become environmentally conscious citizens? But things are not as bleak as they may seem. There are schools which walk the talk when it comes to environment education and I just happened to come across one of them.

Colonel Brown Cambridge School, one of the oldest schools in the city with over 300 trees on its sprawling campus, has not burned a single leaf since the past 3 years. The school management taking note of the hazards posed by leaf burning decided to look for eco-responsible alternatives. Partnering with PRAMUKH (a non profit organisation) in 2017, the school took to converting its entire biomass to compost. This has proven to be game changer. The school now has a number of both aerobic and anaerobic composting units which convert the leaves from trees, flower beds, flower pots and even lawn trimmings into compost. (pics enclosed). The units take 4 to 5 months to generate compost and have already generated thousands of kilos. The compost is being used in the garden beds of the school and is available to anyone who needs it, at a very nominal price.

Apart from composting, the school also sends waste paper for recycling and food waste to an animal farm. The school is also tying up with a Doon based organization for plastic and e-waste collection to be used for recycling. As described by Mr S K Tyagi, the Head Master, the school strives to manage its waste responsibly and also reduce its waste generated by avoiding single use plastic at school events. It has also been gifting flower/tree plants to school guests instead of conventional ones. Colonel Brown Cambridge School has set an example to be replicated by other schools in the city when it comes to implementing waste management and being an environmentally responsible institution.

It’s time lessons in environmental education no longer be restricted to the classroom but actually applied to the real world which is in much need of it.

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