The world has started to listen to children, who have begun voicing their environmental concerns. Sesame Workshop India along with Clean Air Fund have now enabled 10,000 children of Delhi’s urban slums to bring their environmental concerns and possible solutions to the forefront.
A press release states that Sesame Workshop India Trust has rolled out an environmental initiative called ‘Mera Planet Mera Ghar‘, which is supported by Clean Air Fund. Through the initiative, children from 28 localities in Delhi were surveyed for over four months to understand the environmental concerns faced by them, for which they could be supported by adults at home and in communities. This was done to reduce the developmental risks caused by the impact of pollution.
Four advisory meetings of children with local leaders are slated to happen in four locations — Bhalswa JJ, Narela, Nizamuddin and Sunder Nagri — in which they will present their concerns on the environment in their localities. Children will also offer possible solutions in response to their environmental views.
Sesame Workshop India had partnered with non-profit organisations like Action India, Child Survival India and Chintan Environmental Research & Action Group, which helped administer the responses from children of low-resource communities in the national capital.
Deepa Bajaj, chief executive of Child Survival India was quoted as saying: “We generally feel young children will not be observant about complex issue like environment and air pollution, but this survey was an eye opener for us as children were pretty vocal about things like garbage burning, pollution from factories nearby and vehicular traffic. It was challenging to record responses amid the pandemic, but children were thrilled to share their concerns passionately.”
Rajneesh Tyagi, who has been leading this project at Chintan India said that children, especially those who live near landfills, are particularly vulnerable to the impact of air pollution. “Hence, it is important the environmental concerns impacting them are brought to the forefront and heard.”
Saroj Pundir, the chief admin officer of Action India said pollution affects children’s overall health severely, and Reecha Upadhay, the Head of India Program, Clean Air Fund said by supporting Mera Planet, Mera Ghar, [they are] “happy to support community action on air pollution”.
Children were surveyed in two age groups — 6-8 years and 9-10 years. The following concerns were highlighted by 6-8 years age group:
– 46.94 per cent shared that all individuals should be able to have access to potable water within 500 meters of their homes.
– 23.77 per cent felt garbage should not be burnt, instead it should be segregated into non-biodegradable and biodegradable. Optimised use of recycling of non-biodegradable waste and biodegradable waste should be converted to make biogas and manure.
– 22.10 per cent believed bicycles should be promoted as a means of transport.
In 9-10 years group, following concerns emerged:
* 26.96 per cent were in favour of bicycles, and said they should become cheaper.
* 26.40 per cent felt strongly about access to potable water within 500 meters of their homes.
* 20 per cent demanded a ban on widespread use of fireworks and to create special zones for fireworks displays.
Sonali Khan, the managing trustee of Sesame Workshop India Trust said that lack of access to clean air, potable water, health and education impacts children of lower socio-economic background far more severely. “To safeguard their well-being and health, Sesame Workshop India partnered with our implementing partners to raise awareness on environmental concerns in their communities and share them with their area’s local leaders.”