To eliminate plastic use in India, the United Nations launched a mega education program for children on single use plastic in New Delhi on November 26, 2019. Children, after being made aware of plastic use and its adverse impact, will spread awareness about the environmental hazard through various awareness initiatives.
The UN considers that school and college children can play a pivotal role in plastic elimination across the world. The program, which has been successful in Africa, was launched on a pilot project on June 4, 2019 (World Environment Day), to check if it can work in India.
“Under the pilot project, children were taught about plastic as it is a complex issue. They were taught how they were using plastic and measuring of their plastic use. This was the first level. After clearing the first level, they entered the second level in which they had to take the message of single plastic use at community level,” said Gayatri Raghava, Former Consultant, UN Environment Education Program.
“This level is known as leadership level as they have to become leaders to educate society and change the behavior of people about plastic use through different educational programs. This can include clean-up campaign and awareness campaign,” she added.
“After second level, they enter the third level in which they have to come up with ideas to reduce plastic use. They have to come up with plans in society. They have to tell the way to reduce plastic use,” said Raghava.
“In the pilot project, we trained 50000 children in eight states. We are now ready to take this program forward and launch it in 15 Indian states. We have the target of involving 3.5 lakh children in this program,” she explained.
This program has been launched with WWF, Center for Environment Education and Million Sparks Foundation. Million Sparks Foundation trains teachers for various welfare programs while WWF and Centre for Environment Education educate children.