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Schoolkids on mission to save the earth

The last weekend saw school students from across the city take up the green cause and do their bit for Earth Day. Here’s a glimpse of what the environment champs were up to

Green gifts

Shoppers and moviegoers had a green surprise awaiting them at City Centre, Salt Lake, on April 20. All visitors were handed saplings and jute bags in exchange of the plastic packets they were carrying.

Twenty students of Shri Shikshayatan School and 16 students of Sushila Birla Girls’ School along with their teachers and 10 students of Institute of Engineering & Management affiliated to Young Indians-CII took part in the “Mobilize the Earth Campaign”organised by the American Center in association with Earth Day Network, ITC Sonar, and City Centre, Salt Lake. The students were scattered around the City Centre courtyard and near the INOX ticket counter.

“We are happy to be a part of this global initiative. Most of the people here are young and I am glad to see so many of them interested in saving the environment,” said Jeffrey K. Reneau, the director of American Center.

The students distributed around 200 saplings and 500 jute bags handcrafted by Burdwan Women Welfare Society, a self-help group registered under Nabard, to encourage people to use biodegradable products.

“We want to make people aware of environmental hazards and urge them to save the earth,” said Mudita Agarwal, a Class XI student of Sushila Birla Girls’ School, who along with her friends recycled an old Earth Day poster into a beautiful hand-drawn poster.

“It’s an excellent initiative. We should inculcate the habit of using biodegradable products, it will also help revive the jute industry and support mill workers,” said Tanusree Ghosh, in-house teacher of Sri Shikshayatan.

The American Center also organised several social media activities such as online quizzes and a caption contest to commemorate Earth Day. A lucky draw was also held and the winner received goodies sponsored by Earth Day Network.

Creative waste

Chirag Shah, a Class VIII student of St. James School, was excited to learn how to make colourful diaries with waste material. “It was such great fun,” he said after attending a workshop at Oxford Bookstore.

To commemorate International Earth Day, Oxford Bookstore and Earth Day Network hosted an educative workshop, Kabaad Se Jugaad, on April 22. The workshop was conducted by experts from Swabhav, an NGO that teaches children how to recycle waste and turn them into useful objects.

Children were taught to make diaries and writing pads from used paper, envelopes and magazines.

“We not only teach children useful craft but also educate them on the impact pollution and waste has on our planet,” said Vartika Poddar, the founder of Swabhav.

Wetlands tour

Five hundred students from various city schools turned up at the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (BITM) to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. The high school students were taken on a field trip to the East Kolkata Wetlands, where experts from the Institute of Environmental Studies and Wetland Management, department of environment, West Bengal acquainted them with the functions of the wetlands.

“We were told how these wetlands act as the city’s vital organs. The area has turned into the world’s largest sewage-fed aquaculture,” said Chetna Singh of Indira Academy.

A host of contests — drawing, face and fabric painting and quiz — were organised for children of classes V to X on the BITM campus in association with the British Council. “It is important to make students aware of the relation between the environment and its elements. That will help them build a greener tomorrow,” said Sk. E. Islam, the director of BITM. Some of the participating schools were The Heritage School, Mahadevi Birla Higher Secondary School, Don Bosco-Park Circus, Carmel High School and Indira Academy.

There was also a presentation on Green Action Congress organised jointly by BITM and the Earth Day Network. “It is an initiative to mobilise students and raise awareness about environmental threats. All participating school appoint a green monitor in each class to ensure that students don’t harm the environment in any way,” said Karuna A. Singh, the country director of Earth Day Network. Shri Shikshayatan girls found a special mention in the presentation for their efforts to save electricity. Films on global warming and climate change were screened all the day.

Shweta Keshri, Malancha Dasgupta and Sneha Paul