Staff Reporter

A unique environmental education programme

ALAPPUZHA: An army of children, about 5,000 of them, is being organised to protect Vembanad Lake which is facing the danger of being killed through pollution and encroachment.

The students’ army, for conservation of the picturesque lake through a unique environmental education programme named Jalapaadom, is a State government-approved concept of the Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). It will be launched for students living in the Vembanad backwater region on October 4.

Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, Jalapaadom programme officer T.D. Jojo said students from 44 schools and six colleges, along with youngsters in the age group of 10 to 20 years alone the shores of the lake, would be trained through Students’ Wetland Study Centres being set up in each of these educational institutions for three years on various ways of lake and environment conservation.

Training

Each study centre will have 50 to 100 students managed by one teacher who will be trained in the subject.

The centres will undertake different conservation activities, which in turn will help in taking the message to the homes of the children.

With most of the homes on the shores depending on the lake for a livelihood, ATREE expects the programme to gradually grow into a mass movement.

Screening of short films on environment, study tours on the lake to show the children aspects of the water body that otherwise fail to catch their eye, activities designed under an environmental calendar and a mechanism to monitor the quality of the lake water using water quality testing kits will be part of the project, designed on an interactive platform.

The schools and the students will be encouraged to design their own action plans to conserve the lake by a steering committee.

Education Minister M.A. Baby will inaugurate the programme at YMCA Hall here at 10.30 a.m. on October 4.

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