The remarkable initiatives taken by eco-clubs in schools and colleges and the role played by schools volunteers during the Commonwealth Games came in for wide appreciation during the 10th Annual Eco Meet organised by Environment Department at National Bal Bhawan here on Friday.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit lauded the role of school children in providing voluntary support during the `green’ Games. She also appealed to the students to continue to act as environment ambassadors.

The Chief Minister, who awarded winners of various competitions and released an annual calendar 2011, made a mention of how Delhi Government has worked hard over the last 12 years to increase the forest cover in Delhi from 32 sq. km. to over 350 sq. km. Besides, she said, the entire public transport fleet has been brought on to the CNG mode to reduce air pollution.

Delhi Environment Secretary Dharmendra spoke of how the eco-clubs in schools and colleges have been working tirelessly to improve the environment in their own little ways.

He said with the financial assistance of the Education Department, vermi-composting has been started 100 government schools to address solid wet garbage waste management. The compost so generated is being utilised as manure.

Mushroom cultivation has been started in 80 schools and an equal number of schools have been targeted for setting up of herbal gardens.

Besides, rainwater harvesting structures have been set up in 28 schools for water conservation and recharge of ground water level.

Mr. Dharmendra said rainwater harvesting has also been made mandatory for all Government schools.

Solar water heating systems have also been installed in 40 schools to promote energy conservation and help in tapping of renewable energy resources.

The Secretary said paper recycling plants are also functioning in 200 schools and they segregate and collect paper waste. This has twin benefits. One the waste paper is recycled and reused and second, it does not enter the main solid waste.

Noting that e-waste collection bins have been provided in 10 schools and colleges, the Secretary said eco-friendly bags made of jute, paper and cloth are also being promoted as an alternative to plastic.

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