Science Express, a treasure trove of knowledge, chugs into Renigunta
The clamour of school students gradually lulled into an exclamation of ‘ooh’s and aah’s’ as they entered the Science Express stationed at Renigunta here on Wednesday.
Equipped with interactive maps, picture puzzles, videos and life-like models of animals, the ‘Science Express – Biodiversity Special’ (SEBS) was an instant hit with the students. SEBS is a collaborative initiative of Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Ministry of Environments and Forests (MoEF) in coordination with Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC).
Various topics related to biodiversity and climate change were segregated compartment-wise. Biodiversity or ‘variety among life forms’ in areas like Gangetic Plain, Indian Desert and Semi-Arid Zone, Deccan Peninsula, Trans-Himalaya, Coasts and Islands, North-East India, Western Ghats were on display. Science communicators onboard, along with local translators (to aid Telugu medium students) explained the facts on biodiversity and a hoard of other issues to the students.
They also sensitised the students upon the threats to biodiversity caused by unsustainable human development activities like over-exploitation of natural resources, mining, poaching, pollution, deforestation and chemical pesticides. Project Tiger, Project Snow Leopard and Project Elephant which deal with protection of endangered species were also explained to the students.
“Before human beings came to existence, the extinction rate was one species per year. But now every 20 minutes one species becomes extinct”, explained a science communicator to the students. United Nations declared 2011-2020 as the ‘Decade of Biodiversity’, with the aim of conserving the declining biodiversity of the World.
This train stands out as the Indian Government’s response in communicating the importance of biodiversity to the people. The decade has also been declared as the ‘Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification’.
SEBS will stay in Renigunta till Friday, July 26 and is scheduled to reach Chennai on Saturday.