School, Ishikawa Prefecture
Article No.1 (May,2003)
ASANOGAWA GREEN PROJECT
As introduced in a JFS article entitled "Ishikawa
Promotes Environmental Management System for Schools,"
an increasing number of elementary, junior high
and senior high schools in Ishikawa Prefecture
has been creating and implementing environmental
Here we present a case study of city-run Asanogawa
Elementary School in the city of the Kanazawa,
which was certified under the prefecture's "Ishikawa
Environmental ISO for Schools," environmental
management system in the first year the system
started operating. At the school, 257 students
in 11 classes, and 17 faculty members (as of 1
May 2002), are engaged in environmental conservation
activities they call the"Asanogawa Green
The project covers (1) conserving electricity
(reducing CO2 emissions), (2) conserving fuel
(also reducing CO2 emissions), (3) conserving
water, (4) reduction of paper use, (5) reduction
of waste generation, and (6) activities to care
for nature. Throughout the school year, activities
are conducted in various settings, including (1)
the class room, (2) students' school committees,
(3) daily school life, and (4) community activities.
Here are some examples of students' activities
for conserving water .
The sixth-graders discussed and took actions on
what they could do to protect the environment
and what activities they wished to hand over to
younger students in the Asanogawa Environmental
ISO project, in classes for comprehensive study
issue of JFS Newsletter for "classes for
comprehensive study and learning")
One reason for the students' high awareness about
water conservation may be that every day they
can see the Asanogawa River, which flows past
the school. But due to pollution from further
upstream, it is not exactly a clean river, and
this probably makes them more aware of the importance
of their activities.
In the water conservation project, the students
proposed the installation of rainwater tanks at
several locations in the school grounds, to utilize
rainwater for cleaning, mini gardens, toilet flushing
and the rinsing of used milk cartons (before recycling
The proposal from the students specified the locations
and sizes of the rainwater tanks as well as how
the rainwater should be used. At the moment, one
rainwater tank has been budgeted and will installed
Students also proposed a project to install water-saving
attachments in faucets at the school. These are
small gadgets shaped like a child's toy top and
are installed to limit the water flow from the
Installation with a wrench is relatively simple.
Many municipalities in Japan distribute these
devices to citizens free of charge or at a nominal
cost in order to promote water conservation at
home. The students conducted an experiment to
verify the effectiveness of the devices and later
asked the school to install them. Now about half
of all water faucets in the school been installed
The students' committee also measures the amount
of water use at school.
All students take care to close faucets completely
after use and wash cleaning cloths not with running
water but with water in a bucket.
Students at Asanogawa Elementary School brush
their teeth after lunch not only during the annual
dental care campaign but throughout year. In the
past, many students had the habit of just letting
the water run while brushing their teeth, but
now the entire school has joined the "just
one cup" campaign for brushing teeth.
With these and other activities, water consumption
per person in 2002 decreased by about 9 percent
compared to 2000.
In the area of waste reduction, the students'
school committee measures the weight of food left
over from school lunches every day in order to
promote the effective utilization of resources
and reduction of waste. Students are also encouraged
to eat all of their lunch.
Another school committee has been engaged in
composting leftover food and this year they put
pairs of flowerpots at several locations in the
corridors. One has composted soil in it and the
other has non-composted soil. With these paired
flowerpots, all students can see and compare the
growth of flowers and get an important message
from what they see.
Asanogawa Elementary School started the collection
of milk cartons used for their lunch ? they wash
and dry them for recycling -- several years ago.
Recently, Kanawaza City started to give back toilet
paper rolls made of recycled paper to schools
in return for the collection of used milk cartons.
It is a meaningful approach to show students the
results of their own recycling activities, and
it motivates studentsf own efforts for recycling.
These activities and projects are not prepared
by the teachers or faculty members, but the students
themselves, who take a lead in generating ideas
and implementing them. In all of the six activity
areas, students and teachers have engaged in specific
activities at classes, school committees and in
daily school life. As a result, CO2 emissions
per person in 2002 were reduced by 18 percent
from the 2000 level.
Asanogawa Elementary School issues the "Asanogawa
ISO newsletter" to report their activities
and projects at the school. They also have space
to introduce their activities on a bulletin board
at school, as well as their own Internet website.
Their efforts to publicize these activities are
not just because the school wants to advertise
their own activities to the outside, but they
hope that more people will also be inspired by
what they are attempting, and that such environmental
activities could gradually spread more throughout