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A lesson in recycling waste

Sacred Heart Girls' HS School teaches students sustainable way of living

The garden inside Sacred Heart Girls’ Higher Secondary School is well-pruned and a variety of seasonal flowers bloom along the walkway. One side of the school building is lined with over 50 flower pots.

“These flower pots were prepared by our students on the occasion of Earth Day,” Principal Sister Lydia M. Pala said with a proud smile. She also took the guests around the vegetable garden and explained how the students are taught about the nitty-gritty of gardening and agriculture.


The school also teaches students the art of sustainable living and the value of recycling waste.

Last Environment Day, the students and teachers organised a programme — Only One Earth: Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature — that blended creativity with instincts.

Sister Lydia Pala shows the vegetable garden. (Photos by MM)

The global population boom and growing consumerism have led to huge production of waste, with the world generating over 2 billion tonnes of solid waste every year. In fact, a World Bank report says it will increase by 70% on current levels by 2050. At this juncture, it becomes imperative that a sustainable way of living is adopted for a less contaminated future.

Keeping this in mind, the Eco Club of the school celebrated the day with four events — display of flowers, fashion show, distribution of seed balls and planting of palm saplings.

Merveille BSL Mawlong, one of the teachers in charge of the green club, said the “seed for Environment Day was sown on April 22”, when the school celebrated Earth Day with the slogan, ‘Invest in our planet’.

The school, with the help of the EVS (Environmental Studies) teachers of different classes, was able to impart knowledge, thoughts and actions to the students to live by the theme – by investing their time and effort in contributing to Earth’s greenery. The students brought seeds and flower pots.

“Some students did not know how to prepare the soil for a flower pot and how to plant the seed. I, along with a few teachers, taught them how to do that,” informed Sister Lydia.

Students of Class VIII had the best display of flowers.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle — the 3Rs is an earthly reminder to make efficient use of resources and reducing environmental impacts, and thereby, promoting the idea of a recycling-oriented society. The school followed this ‘environmental mantra’ to teach students about the 3 Rs.

There is no better way of saving our environment than picking or collecting waste materials and putting it to good use, said Mawlong.

Fashion Out of Waste, a creative endeavour, was where students used materials like newspapers, plastics, wrappers, disposables, sacks, both jute and plastic, to design dresses.

Risadaka Mary Sun, a student of Class XII, said everyone worked in tandem and coordinated with other for the unique fashion show. There were group discussions to decide on the materials and distribute work.

Over 100 students participated in the event. Models from junior classes flaunted dresses, both western and traditional, made from newspapers and plastic waste. It took five days to design and stitch the dresses.

Risadaka said it was the first time that she designed and stitched clothes and “it was an exciting event”.

“It is important that we understand the importance of reusing and recycling and preserving nature. Through the programme, we learnt how to do this and I will try to implement what I learnt in my daily life,” said Risadaka, who is from Ri Bhoi and lives in the hostel, and is a member of the Eco Club and takes part in various green initiatives like planting saplings and looking after the school garden. She also has a fair idea about soil preparation for seeding and making vermicompost.

Another event for the programme was distribution of ‘Sohphie’ seed balls among a few students who have gardens at home.

The school has an impressive vegetable garden and the produce are all organic. Seasonal vegetables and herbs grow aplenty and are used for boarders. “Students who live in the hostel participate in taking care of the vegetable as well as the flower gardens. Those who don’t know are taught,” said Sister Lydia as she explained the school’s green initiatives.

Besides the green initiatives on special occasions, the school teaches students to live in harmony with nature. Their endeavours have proved fruitful during the pandemic when the produce from the gardens helped boarders to survive amid successive lockdowns.

~ Team Sunday Monitor

(With inputs from Eco Club)

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