Uttarakhand, June 5, 2023: Reckitt, world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, under its flagship campaign Dettol Banega Swasth India in partnership with PLAN India under the project Dettol School Hygiene Education Program, inaugurated first Dettol Climate Resilient School in Uttarkashi, a district in Uttarakhand on World Environment Day. Government Higher Secondary School in Athali, Uttarkashi is first amongst the four schools to be developed in Uttarakhand in Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.
From hilly terrains to holy rivers from mountain covered clouds through lush green forest, Uttarakhand is an epitome of heavens on Earth. The state of Uttarakhand is specifically vulnerable to climate change owing to geological reasons including melting glaciers, increased population pressure, seismic activities and over-exploitation of natural resources. To preserve and prepare for any adverse effects of climate change in Uttarkhand, Reckitt aims to prepare the young change makers in schools as climate champions bearing the flag of Mission Life. The project aims to create a sustainable school environment across the state by reducing carbon footprint, enhancing energy efficiency, and promoting awareness and education around climate change among students, teachers, and the community.
India is the seventh most vulnerable country to climate change impact, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021. During the Glasgow summit in 2021, India took another step towards its commitment to achieve Net Zero Emission by 2070 by introducing the LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) movement. Following the vision of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi , Dettol Climate Resilient Schools follows the LiFE framework which guides governments, institutions, and societies to transition towards mindful resource utilization. Thus, bringing forth the need for climate change education to encourage the upcoming generation to work towards a climate-resilient future.
Aligned with the vision of the Government of India, Dettol Climate Resilient Schools will empower children and recognise them as climate champions, who will act as catalyst in creating climate-resilient communities. This initiative will also focus on impact democratization, building children parliament on climate, through STEM labs, that will focus on efficient way of preserving flora and fauna. As part of the project, Dettol Banega Swasth India also urges the nation to come together and take a pledge showcasing their support towards Mission LiFE. This zero carbon school will produce it’s own electricity, will cut in water wastage, and promote flora and fauna. Additionally, school is provided with upcycled bags, uniforms, xylene free markers, dust-free chalks, environment lab, eco-friendly school bags and many other unique things. The school will witness the following impact – 100% energy independent, 55% less energy demand, improved light quality, 70% reduced water use, water, promoting biodiversity through native vegetation and 100% wet waste diverted towards composting.
The inaugural ceremony witnessed esteemed dignitaries including Shri Abhishek Ruhela, District Magistrate, District Uttarkashi, Shri Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, SOA External Affairs and Partnerships, Reckitt, Dr. Sudhir Kumar Uniyal, Principal, High School Athali, Uttarkashi, Mr. Padmendra Saklani, District Education Officer of Elementary Education.
Commenting on the inauguration, Shri Abhishek Ruhela, District Magistrate, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, said, “I congratulate Reckitt for this unique and first of its kind initiative in India to establish Climate Resilient schools. This endeavour is truly remarkable and holds an important value specially as we commemorate this school in Uttarkashi which is the origin of Ganga and Yamuna. It is the true representation of our ecology, environment and rich heritage that have been passed to us over the years and it is for us to preserve for the generations to come.”
Gaurav Jain, Executive Vice President, Reckitt, South Asia, said, “At Reckitt, we believe we have a duty to combat climate change across everything we do, and we are globally committed to reach net zero by 2040, powering our operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2030. We have been working closely in the state of Uttarakhand to drive on-ground behaviour change and educate the younger generation, who are the future of the nation. Setting up a Climate Resilient School in Uttarkashi is just another step towards our commitment of building a sustainable future. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Government of Uttarakhand for their invaluable support and look forward to driving substantial impact in the state together.”
Ravi Bhatnagar, Director – External Affairs and Partnerships, Reckitt- South Asia, said, “Dettol Climate Resilient School project is an attempt by Reckitt to empower the next generation towards building a sustainable and resilient future through Respond, Repair and Recover. In Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand, where elements of nature meet in the most pure form, this initiative will empower our younger generations with self-sustaining practices, one of the key learnings from Mission LiFE, helping them emerge as climate champions. This will give opportunities to young change makers from hills to stand for climate change by representing their voices at COP 28.”
The program is in response to the National Education Policy (Government of India) intimation on the need to develop schools as places for holistic development and social change. The project strategy is based on the 3Cs of Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools Framework- Campus, Collaboration and Curriculum. Dettol Climate Resilient Schools also contributes to SDGs 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (gender Equality), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 12 (Responsible Consumption and production), 13 (Climate Action), and 17 (Partnerships for the goals).