Towards developing an environmental management system for Michaelhouse Boys' School in KwaZulu-Natal.
Educational institutions are obliged in tenns of the Constitution as well as a number of National Policies to manage their environment in a sustainable manner and to provide a healthy environment for the employees and learners. Michaelhouse is also obliged by the Constitution and National Policies to manage its environment in a holistic manner. Michaelhouse is a private boy's school situated in the Balgowan valley in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. For this reason and for the school's own individual gain, the school's management wishes to fulfill two objectives. First, to produce environmentally sensitive citizens. Second, to acquire the expertise to administer the school in an environmentally sensitive and holistic manner. Although Michaelhouse has had an environmental discussion group since 1996, issues were discussed on an ad hoc basis. Likewise, there have been a number of environmental initiatives in the school, however these initiatives were fragmented. Due to the fragmented initiatives, the management realised the need for environmental management. The school approached the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Natal, Durban for assistance in this regard. Two projects were fonnulated to meet the school's set goals. The first was an Environmental Education (EE) project to fulfil the first objective. The second project aimed to fulfil the second objective, that is, to acquire the expertise to administer the school in an environmentally sensitive manner is described in this thesis. An Environmental Management System (EMS) was identified as the best system to ensure sound environmental management perfonnance. The baseline information provided in this thesis is expected to contribute towards the development of this EMS. South African legislation at the national level with regard to environmental management was reviewed in order to ascertain how environmental problems are dealt with. In order to obtain the necessary information, the study involved three distinct tasks. The first was the pilot study to detennine the way the questionnaire would be structured and the type of questions to be asked. The second was development of the school's environmental mission statement. The third, an environmental audit which had two components; administering of questionnaires to the residents and the inspection of the school's environment. The three main problems identified in the school were the management of water, waste and vegetation. The supply of water was found adequate for the entire school and the water quality acceptable. The only problem found was excess use of water due to multiple uses in the school. It is proposed that a water policy be developed which will include the monitoring of water use. Two types of waste were identified, solid waste and low-medium hazardous waste. The former requires proper management which includes reintroducing recycling, but also other methods were recommended to be incorporated in the waste management process such as minimisation and re-use. Low-medium hazardous waste requires disposal in an appropriate manner and the use of a designated landfill was recommended. With regard to vegetation, the study dealt with the significance of exotic and indigenous trees in the school. The main problem found was that exotic tree stumps are undermining the sewage pipes. The researcher was not able to deal with this issue due to lack of expertise in this field, but it was recommended that the assistance of experts be requested to trace the location of these pipes. In order to have control over the environmental concerns and the environment at large, the development of an environmental policy for Michaelhouse School was found necessary. It was considered essential because it is a building block for an EMS. The policy was developed in collaboration with the School's Environmental Committee. This baseline information contained in this thesis will provide a means of assessing the performance of an EMS once it is put in place. It is therefore concluded, that for the EMS to be effective, it should include all sectors of the entire school property and it was recommended that a full audit be conducted of other sectors of the school.