Our world is changing. Many of these changes can be attributed to rapid industrialisation and ‘progress’ at the cost of our environment.
Environmental education forms a key component of the curriculum at St Anne’s; not only because we must save our precious Earth, but also because giving back to our world develops the kind of women St Anne’s girls will become. It’s crucial that we foster a love of nature and a grasp of the principles of environmental conservation in our girls.
Our committed, active, and purposeful Environmental Committee is dedicated to promoting responsible environmental use in the community.
One of the most important activities of the Environmental Committee is promoting waste management by encouraging waste monitoring. Everyone is urged to recycle whenever possible, using many accessible sites to do so.
- To recycle all the waste that can be recycled.
- To continuously work on changing mindsets and behaviour to achieve this.
- To reach out to the broader community to further our goals.
- Recycling bins in every classroom, office, and stations at key points around the school.
- Environmental Club representatives empty the bins around the school weekly.
- The “Recycling Village” is emptied by Wildlands every week.
- Kitchen waste is sorted, recycled where possible, and food waste is collected by a local farmer.
- Garden waste is composted or taken to the local municipality dump site.
We have implemented Interhouse recycling competitions to continuously encourage and remind the St Anne’s community to sort their waste and place it in the correct recycling bin.
Water, such a precious resource in our country, is also a focal point at St Anne’s. We have water-saving devices in place and we try to reduce water consumption as much as possible.
- Water is pumped from two boreholes situated in the lower end of the property, upstream of the wetland area.
- The water pumped is sufficient to meet the school’s daily water requirements.
- Disinfection chemicals are added to the water in the main reservoir.
- From the main reservoir, water is pumped directly into the school reticulation system using an energy-efficient VSD pump controller.
- An SMS-based alarm system has been fitted to both reservoirs to alert staff of any impending overflow situations, thus reducing the risk of wastage.
- Energy-saving shower heads restrict the water flow to nine litres per minute versus standard shower heads which use between 15 and 20 litres per minute.
- Bathrooms have been revamped and low usage toilet cisterns have been installed.
- An SMS-based system reads our water meters so that daily consumption readings can be taken automatically. This ensures that we are able to monitor our consumption and provides early detection for anomalies.
- An external laboratory carries out monthly analytical tests and submits a report of the microbiological results. This is a legal requirement as part of the Water Services Act and is undertaken by an approved laboratory.
- We have our own Activated Sludge-type sewerage treatment plant.
- Daily quality checks are done and the relevant readings are recorded in the site register.
- The plant is inspected three times a day and routine tasks are performed as per the operating manual.
- An external laboratory carries out monthly analytical tests and submits a report of the microbiological results.
We are currently members of WISA and Water Management SA.
- We monitor our energy usage with the help of an SMS-based system.
- We are able to isolate areas consuming the most energy, thus giving us a starting point for energy reduction projects.
- The system has enabled us to manage our energy demand and automatically reduce our load at peak hour periods.
- Heat pump units are fitted to all our water heating installations.
- Energy-saving shower heads have been installed.
- Insulation of hot water piping in order to reduce heat loss.
- Our laundry drying facility was revamped and a drying room was created. We removed energy inefficient tumble dryers, thus reducing our load from 21kW to 7kW.
- A solar water pump was installed on our second field which allows us to irrigate using solar energy. The water used is rainwater captured from our Indoor Centre. Three x 10kl tanks store it for future use.
WHAT IMPACT HAVE THESE INITIATIVES MADE ON ELECTRICITY USAGE?
Over the past few years, we have reduced our overall electricity usage by 23%.
Girls and staff can join the industrious and passionate Environmental Club to complement the work of the St Anne’s Environmental Committee. This Club supports the committee’s initiatives on the campus, assisting with recycling, raising awareness on current environmental issues, and being actively involved in community projects.
Throughout the year, outside speakers are invited to address Environmental Club members on various environmental issues.
St Anne’s is blessed with beautiful, extensive grounds, including a wetland that has been a rehabilitation project for some years now. Indigenous plants and local wildlife have been returning to this special part of the campus, alien plants are being eradicated, and St Anne's is striving to preserve the unique biodiversity of its wetland for everyone to enjoy in the future.
The Environmental Club is also striving to make a difference beyond our campus gates by doing regular litter clean-ups along Durban beachfront and by conducting MiniSASS water studies in local river systems. These initiatives make the girls aware of environmental issues in surrounding areas and the impact that they can have on the wider community.
In recognition of the investment St Anne’s is making in our environment, we have been listed as an Eco-School and we are working towards an International Green Flag certification standard.