Individuals, institutions honoured for acts of conservation
When S. Gunasekar arrived as headmaster, the Government Kallar Middle School in G. Thummalapatti in Dindigul was in a bad shape. Sewage would accumulate on the school ground and during the monsoon, rain water would stagnate. There was no compound wall and anti-social elements frequented the campus after school hours.
But now, all that has changed thanks to Mr. Gunasekar’s efforts.
“From 2008, with financial assistance from residents, alumni and the PTA, we managed to transform the school. A compound wall was raised, the ground was levelled and at least 50 trees now provide shade,” said the proud principal, who won an award from the State government for protecting and managing the environment.
He received the award from Minister M. C. Sampath at a function organised on Tuesday by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Department of Environment as part of Environment Day celebrations.
A total of 10 environment awards were presented to individuals and institutions and 10 awards for plastic awareness to self-help groups, villages and schools.
Battle against plastic
Radha Balasubramanian, a teacher of PSBB School on Thirumalai Pillai Road, who won an award under the individual category, said she has been making bags out of old newspapers and giving them to a nearby stationery shop and a laundry.
“As soon as the newspapers pile up, my daughters and I make the bags and give them to the shops. We may not be able to make a huge number of such bags but each of them means one less plastic bag given by the shop,” she said.
This teacher is also known for standing in the rain during Deepavali holding placards in T. Nagar’s Jeeva Park, asking walkers and joggers not to burst crackers.
“People have called me mad. But I don’t mind it as I believe that simple thoughts lead to great changes,” she said.
In the institution category, the Suganthi Devadasan Kadal Saar Aaraichi Niruvanam in Tuticorin won the first prize. J.K. Patterson Edward, director of the institution, said that from 1998, a four-sq-km area of coral reefs had been restored.
“We place some artificial surface on the sea floor and then transplant coral fragments and let it develop. We have been working with funds from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Forest Department and Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Trust,” he said.
Non-governmental organisation Sevalaya won an award for its efforts in segregating waste generated on its campus and practising organic farming in its fields and also providing training to local farmers.
Environment and Forests secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath, TNPCB chairman D. Karthikeyan, State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority chairman V. Thangavelu, TNPCB Member Secretary S. Balaji and Director of Environment H. Mallesappa were present on the occasion.