CM Nagaraja, who teaches science to students at a school in Bengaluru, went beyond his call of duty to inculcate healthy lifestyle changes in his teachings.

Having led an eco-friendly lifestyle, he introduced unique practices in the school. For instance, he worked on kickstarting a waste management programme.

He converted the old and broken metal-based furniture, including chairs and tables, into newspaper reading stands, a projector screen, a podium, and cupboards for the staff.

He upcycled discarded milk pouches into stylish computer covers. “We serve milk to our students as part of the mid-day meals scheme. But these pouches are carelessly thrown in the compound,” he says.

To address this, he gathered a group of parents, who are tailors, and developed a plan to repurpose milk pouches. As a result, they created new covers for 20 computer systems in the school.

Seeing these initiatives, five NGOs came on board to scale his endeavours. The first thing he did was purchase two bio-waste converters and bins for paper and plastic waste.

“One converter is for biowaste like leaves and agri-waste that we collect from nearby farms, and the other is for food waste generated in the school’s kitchen,” he says.

“In 6–8 months, we generated 1 tonne of manure that was used in our one-acre garden. Meanwhile, 58 kilos of plastic and paper waste collected in a year was given to the local recycler,” he adds.

The school has five underground water recharging pits to store rainwater and wastewater which is further reused for non-potable purposes.

The school uses 1,500 litres of water daily to wash utensils and for watering plants. With the help of students, Nagaraja has also installed sprinklers for drip irrigation to save more water.

“A child’s interest or disinterest in any field can stem from how that subject is taught. So, it is important to remember that a teacher can create lasting impressions on students,” he says.