Green Campus

Green Campus

Green Campus

The first signs of environment consciousness on MU campus are easy to spot:

  • Manipal University is a no Smoking campus.
  • All vehicles entering the campus are required to have a ‘Pollution under Control’ certificate.
  • Lung spaces are clearly discernable with plenty of green cover.

The Manipal University campus is ISO 9001:2008 certified, as well as 14001:2004 compliant, which is a series of voluntary standards on Quality and Environmental Management Systems (EMS) by ISO. The EMS certification came in 2008, following a clearly-articulated Environment Management System laid down a year earlier.

MU Environment Policy: Our green guide

At MU, environmental protection is not just lip service or mere compliance with standards – our aim is to set benchmarks at a national and international level for good environmental management.

For a cleaner and greener Manipal, we are committed to:

  • Environmental best practices and their institutionalization: Not only comply with the current environmental laws, regulations and standards, but to exceed them wherever we can.
  • Prevention of pollution.
  • Environmental management systems and their implementation: To effectively use them to minimize harmful effects on environment, human health and safety.
  • Clean and safe technologies and their increased use.
  • A clear communication of our commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development: Constantly work at increasing environmental awareness among various stakeholders and the community at large.
  • Promotion of education, research and information exchange related to environmental protection.

Key focus areas

  • Solid waste management
  • Waste water management
  • Rain water harvesting
  • Energy conservation and use of renewable sources of energy like solar energy

Environmental best practices within MU campus

We work within the framework of an Environmental Policy and indeed, are well aware of the environment as a ‘living’ entity that we sustain and protect even as we go about our daily activities.

So, what are the concrete steps we take to actually make this Policy work on the ground in the MU campus?

Solid waste management

Solid waste can be:

  • Domestic Waste: This is collected from homes, hostels and residential facilities on the campus.
  • Garden waste: This includes trimmed away branches, dried leaves, and all manner of garden waste.
  • Biomedical waste: This is generated in the hospital and nursing facilities within the campus and requires specialized handling as per the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules.

To manage solid waste effectively, it is important to segregate it prior to disposal; this is the only way to minimize its impact on the environment.

In the MU campus, our policy is to segregate the waste at the source, especially in residential quarters with the use of colour-coded bins.

When the waste reaches the final collection point, a visual inspection is carefully repeated to ensure proper disposal.

Proper disposal of domestic and garden waste

  • Vegetable waste from cafeterias and eating joints is vermi-composted.
  • Domestic waste is used in land reclamation.
  • Garden waste is also used in land reclamation, as well as soil remediation.
  • Paper, metals, plastics and glass are recycled by giving them to scrap vendors.

Proper disposal of biomedical waste

Hospital waste is disposed of as per the norms of the Pollution Control Board, since management and handling of biomedical wastes is governed by the Biomedical Waste (Management & Handling) Act and Rules, 1998.

Hospital waste is segregated at source in a strictly-implemented regimen, in colour-coded bins. Individual units send their biomedical waste to a central unit from where authorized agencies pick it up at regular intervals. They ensure the waste is treated and disposed of in a safe manner.
Education and training form an important part of the effective implementation of disposal processes; they are also a critical indicator, not only from the environmental point of view but also from the standpoint of employee and patient safety.

Disposal of hazardous wastes

E-waste like computers and accessories, compact fluorescent lights, printer cartridges are collected through separate waste streams and sent to authorized recyclers.

Waste water management

For management of our water resources, we scrupulously adhere to the 3 R’s: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse.

Three sewage plants treat the waste water generated in the entire MU campus. These have a combined capacity of 55 lakh litres per day.

There are two sullage treatment plants too, of a combined capacity of 3.2 lakh litres per day. Treated water from the sullage treatment plant is re-circulated to the flush system.

Treated water from other plants is used for gardening and arboriculture.

Dried sludge, a by-product, is used as manure for gardens.

Air quality monitoring

The air we breathe in the campus is clear and that is the way we like it. This is how we do it:
Diesel generators run the backup power for the MU campus. These generators are a source of emissions besides the emissions from boilers. All exhaust emission-stacks are as per height guidelines prescribed by regulatory authorities. Also, emissions are tested in-house to conform to environmental limits.

To control vehicle emissions on our campus, we have a government-recognized Emission Testing Centre. Its services are offered at highly subsidized rates, so that self-compliance to vehicle emission norms is not an expensive rule to comply with.

Rainwater harvesting

In MU, we harvest rainwater in two ways:

  • From rooftops of buildings; then using it for domestic purposes after proper filtering.
  • By diverting storm water to abandoned bore wells.

Rainwater collected from roof tops from existing down-takes is connected to a common header and led to a trickling sand filter having individual filtering capacity of 10,000 litres per hour. The filtered water is then led to a nearby sump and then piped for domestic use. Chlorination is done, if needed. This scheme is adopted for 20 buildings within our campus.

For recharging dry bore wells, a pit is excavated around the dead bore well and a filter medium is filled into the pit. Storm water drains and roof top rainwater pipes are diverted into this pit. The water gets filtered and recharges the bore well. We have adopted this in 11 locations around the MU campus.

Lung spaces

Trees and shrubs are the ‘environmental lungs’ of the Manipal campus. These lungs soak up harmful carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen.We try to develop all available open spaces through arboriculture and greenery.

Energy conservation

Energy conservation is an ever-present theme in the planning and developing of all our campus facilities. We are also increasingly focused on renewable sources of energy like solar energy.

A few of the measures taken by us to make the Manipal campus energy conserved:

  • Upgrade of the air-conditioning systems
    This means we replace dated air-conditioning units with power-efficient water cooled screw chillers, cooling tower upgrades, and unitary air-conditioner controls. It also means we implement automation system for buildings with sensors for efficient cooling, and automatic switching on and off depending on occupancy and fixed time schedule. Also, we use environment-friendly R-138 gas systems for cooling.
  • Energy efficiency measures
    We work to reduce maximum load, and introduce measures to improve quality of power by exchanging energy efficient transformers, pumps, detuned filters for capacitor banks, and HPSV for CFL lighting; also, installation of auto synchronization panels and energy efficient power equipment as certified by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).

Solar Water heaters

Manipal, on coastal Karnataka, has an abundance of sunny days right through the year, except during the monsoons. It makes a lot of sense, therefore, for us to have solar powered heaters for our heating requirements. Currently, the total installed capacity of solar heaters is 375 cubic meters per day, and that is just a start.

Environmental goals for our future

Environmental awareness and best environmental practices are an ongoing journey at Manipal University; a state of mind that informs all our work and play.

In the near future, these are a few things we plan to do:

  • Upgrade existing oxidation pond to improve water quality for reuse.
    Measure pre-monsoon and post monsoon levels of the water table at rainwater harvesting points. This will help us quantify the actual advantage of integrating rainwater harvesting for ground water recharge.Install automatic flow control in all air-conditioning, as also carbon dioxide sensors.
  • Sequence chillers or chilled water pumps based on the load included in the building management systems.

Awards and Recognitions

Our ongoing efforts have given us the following awards. We are proud of our achievements, and use all this recognition to benchmark ourselves against global environmental standards.

  • 1999 - 2000: District Award for Environment – First Prize
  • 2002 - 2003: District Award for Environment – First Prize
  • 2004 - 2005: Rajiv Gandhi Parisara State Award
  • 2008 - 2009: Certified as compliant to ISO 14001: 2004 EMS requirements.
  • 2010 - 2011: Ranked Number 2 in India and 78th in the world in the UI Green Metric World University Ranking 2011
  • 2011 - 2012: Ranked Number 1 in India and 35th in the world under suburban subcategory in the UI Green Metric World University Ranking 2012
  • 2012: Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2012
  • 2013: Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2013