Centre for Environment Education (CEE)was created jointly by the Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD) and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, GOI in recognition of the importance of Environmental Education (EE) in India’s overall environment and development strategy. The result of a unique partnership between government and a non-governmental institution, CEE was established as a Centre of Excellence in EE in 1984. CEE has inherited the rich multi-disciplinary resource base and varied experience of Nehru Foundation for Development, its parent organization, which has been promoting educational efforts since 1966 in the areas of science, nature study, health, development, and environment.
At the time it began its activities, CEE was perhaps the only organization actively engaged in environmental education in the country. After completing a decade of activities in 1994, it was decided that CEE will focus more on environmental education with environmental action. This was an outcome of the learnings and experiences in the first ten years. CEE began more pilot, field-level and demonstration projects towards sustainable development which could be scaled-up and replicated. Within the next ten years, these projects formed a major chunk of the Centre’s activities. Today, CEE works for a wide range of sectors, target groups and geographical areas. CEE sees a major opportunity in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-14) to further contribute towards sustainable development. 
CEE’s work in environment education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has been recognized both nationally and internationally.

  • CEE has been designated the Nodal Agency for implementation of the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development in India by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the UNESCO Focal Point for India
  • CEE was awarded the Global level award for its ‘Outstanding Service to Environmental Education’ by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) for the year 2005.
  • In October 2005, it was awarded the ‘Plasticon 2005 Award’ by the PlastIndia Foundation in the category of ‘Innovation in Recycling Technology’ for its innovation of a ‘Polyloom’, a plastic weaving handloom that helps in reuse and recycling of discarded polybags.
  • In May 2005, CEE was designated as the host agency for the LEAD (Livestock Environment and Development) India Platform. LEAD is a multi-donor supported global initiative, anchored in FAO, Rome. The LEAD India Platform has three major functions – creation of knowledge base, advocacy and communication for development.
  • On behalf of the Government of India, CEE facilitated several national preparatory processes for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), 2002. CEE was also called upon to prepare the National Report to UNCED, the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil held in June 1992. Other reports developed by the Centre for MoEF include CBD COP Report in 1994, for the Fourth CSD Session in 1996. The Centre also facilitated India’s preparatory processes for the World Parks Congress, 2003.
  • In 1996, UNCHS (United Nations Centre for Human Settlements - Habitat) instituted the Global 100 award for the best 100 practices in different cities in the different continents of the world. Of these 100 projects, two of CEE’s projects –‘Environmentally Sound and Productive Use of City Garbage’ and ‘Urban Sanitation in low income areas’ both in Bangalore in Karnataka were selected as best practices for the year 1998. The award was presented to CEE in Delhi at the Vigyan Bhavan by the Union Minister for Urban Affairs, Shri Ram Jethmalani on behalf of the Dubai Municipality and Habitat.
  • It was awarded the ‘Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar’ (IGPP) for the year 1997 by the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, for the significant contribution in the field of environmental education & especially for its pioneering work in waste and biomedical waste management.
  • Kartikeya V. Sarabhai, Director, CEE was presented the ‘Tree of Learning’ award for 1988 by the Commission on Education and Training of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
  • In 1994-95, CEE was designated the Subject Matter Focal Point for environmental education for the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP).
  • CEE is the Environmental Information System (ENVIS) centre for EE in India. CEE was also identified as ENVIS Node for Hospital Waste Management under the World Bank funded project.
  • CEE is designated as the National Host Institution for the Small Grants Programme of the Globe Environment Facility (GEF).

CEE’s programmes/projects are organized around 21 thrust areas, waste management is one of them which is been exclusively handled by the Waste and Resource Management (WaRM) group.  

Waste and Resource Management (WaRM)
Waste and Resource Management (WaRM) of CEE can be said to have started in 1989 when in Bangalore, for the first time, CEE along with other organizations participating in a forum called the Committee for Clean Bangalore, prepared a concept paper for cleaning and greening Bangalore city. This concept paper, which was presented to the Mayor of Bangalore on World Environment Day (WED) June 5th 1990, envisaged that each of the organizations which had helped prepare the paper, would take up a certain number of issues and work out models and practical demonstrations, which could serve as models for the whole city. Subsequently, CEE took up the issues of solid waste management, conservation of green spaces and promotion of civic responsibility as part of its mandate.

CEE, of course, succeeded in designing these models not only for Bangalore but for the whole country especially in solid waste management, a model which has been acknowledged and has become the standard and best liked model integrating the best environmental concepts and practices such as reducing wastage, maximizing reuse and encouraging eco-friendly recycling along with community participation, involvement of the local government, philanthropic and commercial organizations and the downtrodden (PPP concept). CEE was awarded the UNCHS Global Hundred Award in 1998 for two projects implemented in Bangalore – one on Solid waste management, a community based approach and another for Innovative sanitation facility in low-income areas. CEE also worked on the Biomedical waste management concept and the citation of the Paryavaran Puraskar which CEE received from the MoEF in 1999, specially mentioned CEE’s unique and pioneering contribution in both these fields of Municipal Solid Waste & Biomedical Waste Management.

Although WaRM continued to work on concepts, demonstrations, academic and policy formulation work, having helped the Ministry of Environment & Forests, GOI, to formulate the Biomedical Waste (management & handling) Rules from 1995 onwards, later promulgated in 1998, the Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, in1999, the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules in 2000, Hazardous Waste Management (Revised) Rules in 2003, all under the EPA, 1986 and many guidelines concerning waste and other urban & rural settlements issues, it attained a separate status of a thrust area within CEE only in April 2005.

One of the most important achievements of WaRM was that a full-fledged common biomedical waste treatment facility called CHAMP (Common Healthcare waste Appropriate management Plant), which was designed and executed by CEE, was inaugurated in June 2005 and envisages to be one of the most eco-friendly units in India. WaRM is also spearheading the move with the MoEF to nominate CEE as a national member of International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), which will give it voting rights and influence policy globally to make waste management an eco-friendly activity as opposed to the extremely harmful, eco-unfriendly and commercial approach that many developed countries have adopted herein. Within the country too, CEE has taken up the issue along with several other organizations and as part of the Alliance for Waste Management (AWM), a movement to oppose polluting technologies such as waste to energy, mixed waste composting and extremely hazardous and harmful recycling, is promoting eco-friendly technologies and influencing business houses as well as government and private agencies. CEE is also helping the MoEF in addressing the issues of trans-boundary movement of waste (not only hazardous chemicals, which is anyway covered under Basel convention) but many items in the garb of segregated domestic garbage like plastics, metals, batteries and biomedical waste, which are unfortunately being exported by the developed world to industrialized countries like ours. This was highlighted in a seminar entitled ‘SASEANEE – Solid Waste Actions, Seminar & Training’, SASEANEE – SWAST in October, 1994 organised in Bangalore, then reiterated in another similar one called ‘Back to Nature’ in 1998 on the occasion of commemorating the 10th anniversary of CEE South and once again during the Education for Sustainable Future international conference – Participation for Sustainable Waste management in January 2005 in Ahmedabad.

WaRM of CEE along with other organizations made a representation to the Supreme Court Committee on Reduce Derived Fuel (RDF) and waste to energy projects on September 9th, 2005, bringing to light the inconsistencies in a plant near Hyderabad claiming to make Refused Derived Fuel (RDF) from Indian garbage which has over 60% organic wet waste and consequently will need more energy to either dry it or segregate it before any useful burning happens, besides ensuring under the law, that burning of mixed plastics does not occur even in a dual chambered incinerator. This, as we know is banned under both the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules 2000 and the Biomedical Waste Management Rules 1998. Furthermore, repeated failures of these plants –Hyderabad, Vijayawada and many others have shown that this is a non-viable approach and in the garb of using garbage is actually run on rice husk, a valuable biomass of the rural areas.

Through the AAWaM projects in the four pilgrim cities, namely Tirupati, Vrindavan, Ujjain and Puri under the CPCB’s Ecocities Programme, through the State level Municipal Solid Waste Management and Biomedical waste management training programmes along with another organization – IPE (11 states through the World bank Institute’s Solid Waste Management Learning Programme) and city wide implementation programmes (Pune, Bangalore and Delhi) which CEE has been implementing, WaRM proposes to strengthen its model of segregation of domestic and hazardous waste at source and treatment of the same in an integrated manner in the next decade. By proving that an eco-friendly approach based on source segregation, appropriate and scientific treatment of separated streams of segregated garbage, monitoring the environment with properly selected indicators and finding better and better technologies together with an eco-friendly and people friendly approach, WaRM is convinced that it can achieve its objective of introducing such a model in 100% of the country’s urban areas and at least 50% of rural areas and bring about compliance in the country through the combined model building and EE approach.

Livelihood concepts like CEE-ERU (CEE’s Ecofriendly Reuse and Recycling Unit) promoting composting, paper recycling and popularizing especially the plastic carry bag weaving programme on the slightly modified handloom – the ‘Polyloom’, which has been awarded the Plasticon Award in 2005 for innovative recycling technology, need to be spread. Furthermore many more such technologies need to be invented and popularized with the accent more on educating the public on waste reduction, reuse, selection of alternative non-hazardous, eco-friendly material in all aspects of one’s life which is more in tune with Nature’s cyclic processes rather than human beings’ approach of a ‘one way street’. Therefore, in the next decade, WaRM is focusing on establishing the Waste Management Institute which will endeavor to consolidate the work hitherto carried out nationally and internationally and spread the message of sustainable waste management within India and throughout the world.
The WaRM group cherishes the support of experienced professionals having proven capabilities and technical expertise in research, project development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in the field of waste management ensuring sustainability of endeavors undertaken.

  1. The Core Team
  2. The Team of Consultants
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