Waste Management steps including:
Solid waste management
Liquid waste management
Maharaja’s College Ernakulam, which has 3500 students and 300 teaching and non teaching staff as its members, produces about 10 kilograms of waste per day. However, the college maintains the status of a zero-waste campus through a persistent and effective action plan. While dry waste is recycled, wet waste is used for composting. The college takes absolute care in order to make sure that the wastes generated do not end up in landfills.
The college in association with various bodies such as Nature Club, NCC and NSS, Cycle Club etc., give emphasis on reducing the waste material and its proper disposal in the campus with an insistance on the three “R”s of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The generated waste is separated to solid, liquid and e-waste and they are effectively disposed so as to make the campus clean and healthy. The various methods adopted to manage these wastes include:
a) Solid Waste
As part of the green initiative, the college ensures the cleanliness and eco-balance in the campus. As part of the plastic-free campus initiative, the college ensures the green protocol in various programs. Green campus campaign authorities ensure the adoption of the green protocol in all the programs conducted and posters used in the campus to reduce plastic pollution. An effort to limit the plastic carry bags is also undertaken in an effort to be environment friendly.
The major solid waste materials generated in the college include horticultural waste, such as dried leaves or plant clippings. There is also a certain amount of glass, fibre, food waste, paper and plastic. The food and plastic wastes from the campus are collected by placing waste bins at various locations. But mostly, the waste consists of biodegradable materials such as kitchen waste, collected from all around the campus, especially the canteen and hostels. The wastes collected through waste bins in the campus are disposed off with the help of local cleaning workers belonging to Kudumbasree units. The college has installed 2 bio compost units one at the canteen and at the LH. The latter unit generates biogas for cooking. Mulching unit is set in different locations in the campus. Bio-bins are placed at different places for the collection of food waste.
To educate the students on sustainable agricultural practices, organic farming has been introduced. The staff and students are encouraged to purchase the produced organic vegetables. Departments and clubs conduct programmes to sensitize students for sustainable living practices by introducing them to paper bag making, paper-pen making etc. The college organized various programmes such as plastic free campaign, recycling plastic campaign and awareness classes on world environment day, world wildlife week and world ozone day. Instead of buying bottled water, students have started an initiative to use refillable carriers to take water around the campus and also to use paper pens. NSS organizes vocational training programmes for cloth bag and cloth banner production.
Old and damaged wooden furniture is repaired and recycled timely. The students, faculty and staff members take intense care in maintenance and retrieval of wooden materials. The college has appointed staff to clean the class rooms and the campus. Faculty and students take part in occasional campus cleaning activities. The college office has taken initiatives to lessen the use of paper. The NSS unit of the college has replaced plastic/paper plates and glasses which were widely used by all the departments of the college to serve food for seminars and workshops by making available steel plates and glasses. The NSS has also placed cardboard boxes in all the staff rooms for the purpose of depositing old and used pens with the aim of recycling them. The college has taken the assistance of the Cochin Corporation in the regular removal of solid and liquid waste by paying an amount of money. Weekly fogging is being done in the campus on a regular basis under the clean campus campaign.
b) Liquid waste
The major liquid waste includes effluents from toilets and the laboratories. These are collected in the separate septic pits and allowed to settle into the soil. Since the effluent pits are not located near the water bodies and the college is situated in a huge plot with a large soil area, the effluent water gets naturally filtered. The college follows good laboratory practices to ensure the safety of the personnel and adheres to a strict protocol of liquid waste disposal in all the laboratories. Indiscriminate use of chemicals is discouraged during practical classes and laboratory liquid chemical wastes are safely disposed off. Any glassware used in the laboratory is rinsed with minimum water and placed in the liquid waste container.
The liquid waste is segregated into organic and inorganic waste. Inorganic wastes such as concentrated acidic or alkaline solutions are neutralized before disposal. Sodium
bi-carbonate or Calcium oxide (lime) is used for the neutralization process so that the neutralized liquid contains no harmful substance. The organic waste yield of the college is limited till date and therefore treated with cow dung for decomposition due to the action of micro-organisms. The college maintains an efficiently functioning sewage system throughout the campus.
E-waste materials can cause damage to environment and badly impact on human health. Electronic goods are used at their optimum level by proper upgradation and maintenance which is done by the suppliers themselves. Periodic checking ensures the proper disposal of non-working electronic items. Computers, printers and other ICT equipment are disposed off through buy-back scheme. The e-waste generated in the campus are also collected and disposed through dealers by inviting tenders. Besides this, all kinds of electronic waste materials, such as battery cells and useless electronic devices are given away to scrap dealers twice a year. The goal of the three Rs is to prevent waste and conserve natural resources. Implementing such “green” practices as the 3 Rs facility at an educational institution is an excellent start ofresponsibility to society.