Tuesday, April 7

Following in Wangchuk’s footsteps, girls at city school forgo ironing to save power

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Rupsa Mitra was in Class I when ‘3 Idiots’ was released. Years later, when Rupsa watched the film, she loved the character, Rancho, who was based on Sonam Wangchuk, innovator and Magsasay Award-winning environmentalist who lived in Ladakh. Little did she know that one day, she would follow in Rancho’s footsteps.

Wangchuk, who has stopped ironing his clothes to save electricity and promote the planet, has inspired an entire school to emulate him. On Thursday, Rupsa, now in Class XI, was among the 1,800-odd girls at The BSS School who wore uniforms that were tidy but not ironed. “Our principal suggested we iron clothes one day less. When I told my parents about it, they were perplexed. After all, schools have for ages insisted that students should wear starched and ironed clothes. I had to explain to them that it would save electricity and was good for the planet,” the Arts student said.

All students at the school, from Class I to XII, have been urged to adopt the practice. Class-X student Sneha Dey, who irons her clothes on Monday, Thursday and Saturday evenings, skipped doing so on Monday. “If the electricity I save helps light up even one home, it will make me happy,” she said.

Principal Sunita Sen said a friend had drawn her attention to Wangchuk’s pledge on un-ironed clothes. “This is the 70th year of the school and we were looking for a pragmatic social initiative in which all students could participate without burdening their parents. The un-iron initiative is perfect,” she said.

Calcutta Girls’ School principal Basanti Biswas also found the initiative heartening: “Something like this will lead to sensitisation of teachers, students and parents about energy conservation and environment.” Seema Sapru, principal of Heritage School, said she, too, felt inspired by Wangchuk’s movement and would, in fact, roll out the programme at the institute after the Boards exams were over. “I will encourage students not to iron twice a week,” she said.

South City International School principal John Bagul extended his good wishes to The BSS but said it was difficult to implement it in a co-ed school as that could lead to boys turning up in crumpled clothes. “We are not yet ready for unpressed clothes,” said Bagul.

Un-ironed uniform though does not mean shabby clothes. As fashion designer Rimi Nayak said, it actually translated to better care for one’s clothes. “Fold clothes with care after you wear them so that there is no awkward crease. Use hangers or fold properly and place them under the mattress. If someone decides to wash, the clothes can be straightened out and hung to dry,” she said.

Wangchuk said smart crease was an indulgence one could do without to help the planet. “The power saved from ironing a person’s clothes can power four rural households,” he said. Environment activist Bonani Kakkar gave a thumbs up to the initiative. “Congratulations to the school. I hope many more schools would follow suit,” she said.


Source: Times of India

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