Bruins Target Environmental Sustainability in Vadamanappakkam

UCLA Project RISHI created a new committee to tackle issues posing a threat to environmental sustainability in Vadamanappakkam.

UCLA Project RISHI’s India trip to Vadamanappakkam last summer has been eventful in more ways than one. The members conducted surveys regarding the efficacy of UCLA Project RISHI’s previously implemented cook stove projects, worked with the doctors of the free clinic to better understand the health concerns of villagers, and visited the schools to examine potential initiatives that could be taken to improve their English language curriculums. However, members also observed numerous problems that needed immediate attention.

The village had several problems with cleanliness and upkeep: the most pressing of which was the state of the playground outside the local high school, which was unkempt and overrun by weeds. Additionally, children were no longer able to enjoy the playground due to the alarming fear of snakes. There were also problems with bathrooms flooding their entrances, and of equal importance, poor trash management around the village. Poor trash management, especially in areas with children, could lead to health and general sanitary problems in the near future.

The local playground sees very few children visiting due to its poor upkeep.

UCLA Project RISHI started the Environmental Sustainability committee in response to these issues. The committee strives to create something sustainable for the village; very true to RISHI. It is possible to simply clean up the playground when it gets dirty or hire someone to perform the task, but the committee intends to instill in the villagers the importance and benefits of cleaning up after themselves. The committee’s long term goal is to create a system that can be sustained in the village for years to come. One of the primary goals include a focus on education in the schools regarding waste management. The idea is that if children are impacted by the knowledge, they will have an incentive to continue sustainable actions into their futures.

A working nursery in Vadamanappakkam is kept disheveled regardless of frequent visits by young children.

Project RISHI is already working with the company E-Hands Energy India Pvt. Ltd. to put solar power in the clinic. Solar power has already been installed and has been powering primary appliances, such as the fan and lights. The environmental sustainability committee can potentially expand on this solar power for other purposes in the village, striving for green energy.

The committee is currently in the progress of selecting a major issue it wishes to tackle this 2015–2015 academic year. Issues include waste management education and water sanitation. It is planning to acquire plans for the playground and start collaborating on the solar power project. The environmental sustainability committee aims to help reduce health problems caused by poor hygiene and upkeep in the village, most noticeable in the playground and bathrooms. Progress with small scale green energy is a promising future that can develop Vadamanappakkam into a safe place for the villagers.

Authors: Geeth Kondaveeti and Rahul Chandrupatla