From developing alternative fuel for vehicles to presenting ideas to tackle issues like oil spill, lake pollutions, and bullying, young teens representing various schools from across the country featured in the annual Bengaluru Civic Fest held in the city on Tuesday. The event was a culmination of the ‘IChangeMyCity Challenge run’ held from August to December last year, where students were given the task to identify a civic issue affecting their neighborhood and to come up with an innovative and implementable solution to address the same.
Among the 25 teams shortlisted from over 14,000 student participants, the team from Lewa English High School in Rajajinagar presented an idea of cleaning lakes using wave method. “By installing windmills facing towards a direction, the waste that gets accumulated in water bodies can be redirected towards one place enabling garbage collection. While wet waste collected from such sites can further be turned to manure, dry waste can be processed and used for asphalting roads,” Ramya S Reddy, an eight standard student said.
Her teammates Lavanya R, Medini V Amin, Lohit Raju D, and Mithun N further shared hopes of seeing the lakes in Bengaluru cleaner. “We have lost out many lakes to pollution and ill-use. As responsible citizens, we should ensure their cleanliness and bring out a change in the mentality among our people,” they said.
Another project that spoke highly of the need of a mentality change was presented by students from Delhi Public School, Varanasi as they campaigned against bullying in educational institutions. The team comprising Pranav Donapaty, Anamta Shakeel, Ayushman Agrawal, Aarish Iqbal, and Shrey pointed out many instances where people have lately developed “intolerance towards accepting differences.”
“Bullying is viral and this can be seen as a factor that leads to a sense of mob mentality that is developing among many these days. Some of the achievable solutions that we have thought of including counselling of such people right at their formative ages itself. Frustration and lack of attention given to those in need should be addressed effectively,” the 13-year-olds said.
“Watch your words before its too late,” the team advised.
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Meanwhile, the team from Bhavan’s Bhagwandas Purohit Vidya Mandir, Trimurti Nagar, Maharashtra proposed a solution for oil spill disasters. The team which included Riddhi Dugad, Anuradha Singh, and Arya Pusadkar said that such solutions would ensure wastage of fuel and would minimise the danger in such events.
At the same time, Sagar N S, Shashank C, Sudeep M, and Dileep Kumar spoke on why they call themselves the ‘Ministry of Anti-Radiation.’ The team of four from Bluebell Public School, Bengaluru also claimed that they campaigned in and around Bengaluru to create awareness among youngsters to avoid over-use of mobile phones.
“Initially we held a survey among youngsters in Hosa Road and Electronic City areas where we found smartphone addiction was too rampant. With the help of experts from the field of psychology, technology, and medicine, we have come up with a way of campaigning to ensure the youth stays away from such addictions and instead get socially active,” Sagar said.
A stall set up by students of National Hill View Public School was among the other attractions of the one-day civic fest as students explained the evolution of Bengaluru from Bangalore from 800 AD to the present.
The fest engaged over 2000 students through experiential activities such as composting, fire safety and security drills, learning how to create wealth out of waste and child-friendly city inputs, motivating them to spark a civic change.
“Civic education or active citizenship education is the only way to solve complex 21st-century challenges in a sustainable manner,” said Srikanth Viswanathan, CEO Janaagraha.
He added that a societal approach is quintessential to find solutions to complex challenges like climate change, water shortage, sanitation and public health, immigration and jobs, and equity among others.
“Active citizenship education seeks to deeply embed skills and competencies of systems thinking, collaborative problem solving and civic leadership,” he added.
Bengaluru mayor M Goutham Kumar was among the attendees of the event which also saw the participation of various civil society organizations, and opinion leaders from the city.
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