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GREATER AWARENESS: Youth to the rescue
GREATER AWARENESS: Youth to the rescue

MALEEHA RAGHAVIAH

Children participate enthusiastically in the sanitation drive.

KOZHIKODEIf a cleanliness campaign side- by- side with a beautification drive were launched in your City ward, or panchayat, wouldn't you want to be an active participant too? It would be fun, if during the free hours, you are called upon to conduct street corner meetings on the need to segregate waste, do away with plastics as far as possible and use eco-friendly carry bags instead. And educate the general public to dispose of the waste both degradable and non- degradable, in the most scientific manner. This is what school students of a grama panchayat in Kozhikode District have been up to, since the last one- month, and more.

Greater cleanliness

They are active partners in a concerted drive launched on October 2, to keep the precincts garbage free and rid the panchayat of plastics as far as possible.The grama sabhas that are being conducted by the panchayat authorities from time to time as part of the cleanliness drive have taken note of the proactive role of the young friends in ensuring that the grama panchayat is made not only clean, but beautiful as well. Says P.C. Satish Chandran the Chemmancheri Grama Panchayat president "We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response we could evoke among school students. Some schools especially have taken on the responsibility really seriously. "The students and teachers are totally involved in the leaning drive we launched during the Gandhi Jayanthi week. Children organise awareness meetings at street and market corners, to educate vendors and traders," he added.One school in particular, has set up student teams to visit 50 selected households in the vicinity, and educate women especially, on how best to dispose of waste. The awareness of children on matters of environment was commendable, says a panchayat steering committee member.They were highly conscious on matters relating to waste disposal, drainage and the danger of water collecting in puddles and thereby becoming a breeding centre for mosquitoes.One student for instance, at a meeting conducted in a school by the panchayat steering committee stood up to say that a spoonful of water was sufficient for mosquitoes to breed, and spread infections including chikungunya fever. "What is more, when we visited some households, some of the parents told us how their children had been counselling them on the best means of garbage disposal," Mr. Chandran said.On request from the panchayat authorities, two special assemblies were organised in the schools in the evening, to highlight to students the importance of the `Clean Chemmancheri, Beautiful Chemmancheri' campaign, and how important it was for the youth to participate wholeheartedly in the initiative.Chemmancheri grama panchayat has as many as 17 schools, majority of which are Government schools. Many of the schools are partners in the cleanliness drive. Steering committee members provide student group leaders post cards so that they can inform the authorities of the progress achieved in carrying out the campaign. The panchayat authorities are also soliciting the assistance of Scouts and Guides cadets in the sanitation initiative.

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