In line with the governmentâ€™s emphasis on Sustainable Lifestyles and Swachh Bharat,
Project SEARCH has been working with students across the country for over seven years
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Tetra Pak India marked the culmination of their joint initiative on waste management and sustainable consumption, an important Sustainable Development Goal (SDG12), with a day-long conference organised here today. â€˜Borjan: A New Dawnâ€™ saw speakers and participants from across the country deliberating on and evaluating their learnings and experiences from Project SEARCH â€“ a collaborative initiative launched in 2009 to inculcate the habit of sustainable consumption and recycling among the next generation. The ceremony brought together experts on waste management, the school community and think tanks focusing on sustainability.
Since its inception, Project SEARCH (which stands for Sensitisation, Education and Awareness on Recycling for a Cleaner Habitat), has been implemented in more than 200 schools in Delhi NCR, Chandigarh, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Goa and Bengaluru. In its seventh year, the initiative influenced approximately 3,00,000 students, teachers, principals, and the community at large. In the seven years of its operation, the initiative has reached out to over a million students through an array of non-formal teaching methods. In this period, more than 150 tonnes of dry waste have also been collected for responsible recycling.
Expressing her thoughts on the occasion, Dr Annapurna Vancheswaran, Senior Director, Sustainable Development Outreach and Youth Education, TERI, said, â€œChildren and the youth play a crucial role in behavioral change and shift towards sustainability. While we conclude out project today we leave behind over a million trained and sensitized young soldiers championing sustainable consumption and sustainable lifestyle and they in the years to come will be the influence and change that we want to see in society.â€
â€œFor Tetra Pak, these past seven years have been an enriching experience. We are extremely proud to have partnered with TERI to reach out to the community and to students in particular to inculcate the habit of recycling, waste management and sustainable consumption. â€˜Protects Whatâ€™s Goodâ€™, our guiding philosophy, governs all that we do at Tetra Pak, from protecting food to ensuring that sustainability is integral to all areas of our work,â€ said Tetra Pak South Asia Markets Communications Director Jaideep Gokhale. â€œThe principles that Project SEARCH espouses aligns perfectly with the work that Tetra Pak has been doing over the past decade in promoting the recycling of our paper-based carton packaging while encouraging responsible consumption,â€ he added.
This ceremony â€˜Borjan: A New Dawnâ€™ was conducted to mark the next level of this programme where member schools will take the learnings of Project SEARCH beyond the school boundaries, reaching out to societies and RWAs.
Over the past seven years, several short-term programmes were conducted under Project SEARCH in order to create awareness amongst the school community on sustainable consumption and active citizenship. These include:
- Zero Dry Waste Zones â€“ Schools collect and dispose the dry recyclables, which was further converted into useful products like notebooks, paper bags and roofing sheets. The programme aimed at making schools â€˜zero dry waste zonesâ€™.
- STEP (Sensitizing, Training and Educating Peers) â€“ A leadership development programme on value education in ESD (Education for Sustainable Development).
- TRASH (Thinking, Reflecting and Acting for a cleaner habitat) Festival â€“ The festival promoted the concept of â€˜Sustainable Lifestylesâ€™ and how we need to appreciate and celebrate nature.
- SEARCH Days â€“ Students, teachers, school management and the cleaning staff engaged in knowledge sessions and activities on waste management.
- TETRA PAK Ambassador Programme â€“ Student ambassadors were selected every year, who acted as torchbearers for the programme in their respective schools.
- â€˜Kabaad se Jugaadâ€™ â€“ Students created decorative and useful products out of the waste material
Project SEARCH is a school Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme that has enabled school students and teachers to play an upbeat role in the process of improving environmental protection knowledge followed by positive action. Due to the leadership and project management skills imparted during the course of the programme, participating students have successfully been able to implement the projects on sustainable consumption and waste management. The project also helped in popularizing the practice of the 4Rs â€“ refuse, reuse, reduce and recycle, thus making an effort at increasing a productâ€™s life cycle.