A first-of-its-kind initiative, the programme is being extended to seven schools and three colleges for five years

A Government university and the industry have come together with an aim to facilitate educational institutions neutralise their carbon emissions themselves. The initiative, ‘Vision Carbon Neutral’, will encourage school and college students to work towards making their campuses carbon neutral in five years.

Pilot project

The novel initiative, said to be the first of its kind in the country, was launched here on Monday. As a pilot project, the initiative is being extended to seven schools and three colleges for five years. It will be implemented jointly by the Forest College and Research Institute (FC&RI) of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and Confederation of Indian Industry – Young Indians (Yi), Coimbatore Chapter. While the institution will extend scientific support, the Yi will collaborate between the institution and participating schools and colleges.

Speaking during the launch, K. Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor of TNAU, said the country, which had to have a stipulated forest cover of 30 per cent, now had only 19 per cent. However in Tamil Nadu, the 17 per cent forest cover had increased to 22 per cent.

“Water is the best carbon sink and Coimbatore is blessed with seven water bodies. A Rs. 48-crore allotment for Noyyal under the cleaning of water ways scheme in the State could be expected in the XII Five Year Plan,” he said.

Good sign

P. Durairasu, Dean of FC&RI, Mettupalayam, said the initiative promised concrete results and that this was a good sign because even though people were aware of global warming, climate change and carbon footprints, nothing had been done in terms of any activity.

P. Subbian, Registrar of TNAU, and Annush Ramasamy, Chairman of CII-Yi, Coimbatore Chapter, inked a memorandum of understanding to formally launch the initiative in the presence of heads of participating school and college heads.

Message

The initiative was aimed at schoolchildren so that the seeds of environmental sustainability were sown when they were young to enable them spread the message to their families and their workplaces when they grew up, according to Mr. Annush.

Appreciating the initiative, T. Vijayalakshmi Menon, Principal of The Western Ghats International School, said that the school had planned to involve students from the very first step of the programme. Only if the students became well-versed with the neutralising methods with the help of experts, would it be possible to sustain the practice after five years, when the agreement between the stakeholders ended.

A. Balasubramanian, Associate Professor, FC&RI, who is the project officer of ‘Vision Carbon Neutral’, outlined the project details. Ashok Bakthavathsalam, Chairman of CII Coimbatore Zone, felicitated.

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