‘Students from rural areas are more sensitive to eco changes’
Government school students and children from small towns and villages are more receptive to environmental education, Toxics Link senior project director Priti Mahesh has said.
At an experience sharing and awareness programme held here on Wednesday, she said that Toxics Link, working in association with Nokia, was conducting an awareness programme on e-waste for schoolchildren in nine States through local NGOs. The NGO working in Andhra Pradesh was Guide Foundation For Development (GFFG).
Toxics Link had already conducted awareness programmes in 1,400 schools in nine States.
Agents of change
Children were the focus of the campaign because they were “agents of change” with the power to influence parents and promote awareness among neighbours.
“Children are influencing parents in a big way and they are emerging as big decision-makers,” she said. The children were being educated not just about e-waste, but other environmental aspects such as energy and water conservation, biomedical waste, and solid waste management.
Children from government schools were more enthusiastic than students from private schools. Similarly, students from small towns and rural areas were showing greater enthusiasm. This may be because the poor were more exposed to changes in environment when compared to the rich, and children from rural and semi-urban areas were in greater contact with nature than their urban counterparts, she said.
She said that the e-waste collection drives the NGOs take up after the awareness programmes act as a barometer of enthusiasm. “The enthusiasm of the government schoolchildren is evident in the number of mobile phones and charges they collect and hand over in school,” Ms. Priti Mahesh said.
Toxics Link was trying to make the manufacturers responsible for the proper disposal of e-waste. Though the e-waste disposable rules had come into force from May, their implementation was not so encouraging, she said. Guide Foundation For Development executive director Muralikrishna was present.