August 26, 2008

City Students on ‘Green’ Drive

PUNE: Young students in the city are likely to become harbingers of environmental awareness under the 'young rangers' programme initiated by the HSBC in collaboration with Yuhina Eco media.

The objective of the programme is to help increase environment awareness among children through active learning about nature. It is an interactive project which facilitates a teamwork approach. The programme involves setting up of environment projects on vermiculture composting, butterfly gardens, medicinal plant gardens , besides tree plantation drives and other child-friendly activities.

At the inauguration of the programme, Pune municipal commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi spoke about the environmental issues plaguing the city and lauded the initiative. "The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has initiated a programme to encourage behavioural changes among the citizens, which will lead to reduction in the city's carbon footprint. Programmes like young rangers, where students are sensitised at a young age towards being ecofriendly, will go a long way in helping our initiative," he said.

Highlighting the issue of traffic congestion in the city, Pardeshi said that, while bicycle is the most eco-friendly mode of transport, it is rarely adopted by citizens. "Pune's vehicular population is more than that of Mumbai, which is a bigger and richer city. Pune has 3.3 vehicles per family."

About the water supply, Pardeshi said that given the geographical location of the city, it should not suffer from severe shortage of drinking water. "However, we need to reduce wastage of drinking water. We are looking into a project to facilitate 24x7 flow of water through the pipelines. This will reduce the amount of stored water which is thrown away the following day in favour of 'fresh water'," he said.

Admitting that 40 per cent of the water supplied to the city is lost in transmission, Pardeshi said the PMC was working towards more efficient water transmission. While 155 litres of water per person was sufficient, the current usage hovered around 300 litres per person, he added.

Discussing the waste disposal system, Pardeshi encouraged citizens to segregate their waste into organic and inorganic waste. "The city must imitate the forest ecosystems. In the forest, organic waste is recycled by natural reactions. Similarly, we must aim to recycle the organic waste generated in the city," said Pardeshi.

On the occasion, botanist and academician Prafulla Ghanekar gave the students simple tips to conserve the environment. "Do not waste paper. Use tools like blackboard where possible," he said Ghanekar. Production of 1 kg of paper required 7 kgs of water and it generated almost equal quantity of waste water, he added.

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