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Time for a clean change

Children can discover, learn and persuade:

Recently, Abeer Abhyankar, the youngest gang member of Sai Paranjpye’s film Chakachak on environmental awareness wrote an open letter to actor Preity Zinta, giving her suggestions on how to keep Mumbai clean and green. Ms. Zinta has been in the news with actor Shah Rukh Khan for literally picking up a broom and kick starting a cleaning campaign. Abeer is happy that adults are now taking some intiative!

In Chakachak a ‘gang’ of eight children (squeaky clean) discovers that there is no space in the city left for them to play. The streets are full of dirt, filth, plastics and choked gutters. There is noise and water pollution. Shocked by the indifference of the adults, the children take the matter on to their hands. A revolution – the Chakachak movement – is triggered.

The reel situations soon got transferred to real activities. Inspired by the film the Pune Municipal Corporation (the film was a huge success in Pune, when released last year) started a number of chakachak tolis for school children. These tolis act as watchdogs and report to the ward office. They campaign for the segregation of wet and dry garbage, vermi composting and drive against plastics. They insist that their parents use cloth bags and pickup brooms themselves to assists the muncipal workers. The residents of Pune also joined hands with the PMC to achieve the target of zero garbage. Children are capable of leading an attitudinal change. They can discover, learn and persuade.

Clean India Journal will track the initiatives by India’s youth- be it the drainage disposal system for railway designed by teenager Masha Nazeem or the four students from the National Public School in Bangalore who won awards for their project on recycling waste plastic for construction of roads. Nazeem, a class VIII student from Kanayakumari district is the daughter of a government employee. There are already many schools which have gone sans plastic. Our children could teach us a lesson or two.

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