Lucknow kids fund green mission with pocket money

By Asit Srivastava, IANS,

Lucknow: Children of their age usually prefer spending pocket money on junk food, enjoying a joyride in an amusement park, or buying a DVD of their favourite cartoons. But here’s a group that uses the pocket money to fund a green drive in the city.

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A group of 15 children in the Telibagh area of Lucknow is spearheading a sapling plantation campaign and funding it from the money their parents give as pocket money.

And what’s more, they have enthused many other people to join their green campaign too.

“Participating in a plantation exercise gives you a sense of satisfaction… It makes you feel you are contributing something to Mother Earth,” 16-year-old Priyank Yadav, a member of the group, told IANS.

“I don’t say our initiative would bring desired changes overnight, but I am quite sure that if other people, particularly children, constitute small groups for the plantation exercise, the campaign will go a long way in ameliorating the environment conditions to a considerable extent,” added Yadav, a Class 12 student of New Public Inter College.

It was in October 2009 that Yadav and his three friends in the neighbourhood decided to launch a plantation drive.

“It was just a usual day when we were discussing some of the topics taught by our teachers. We started talking about global warming and thought of doing something to counter the menace at our own level,” said Honey John, another member of the group.

“We decided to save our pocket money and plant at least one sapling a month,” he added.

This small initiative has now come a long way as now people of all walks of life are joining their noble campaign against global warming.

“Truly speaking, like many of us in the city, I was not aware about any such group working for the environment…. I came to know about the group from some medical students, who happened to meet the children by chance,” said Pradeep Kumar, senior scientist with the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow.

“The noble intention of the children prompted me to join their group,” said Kumar, who has christened the group as ‘Green Combats’.

According to the group members, till now over 400 saplings have been planted in parts of Lucknow, including Telibagh, Jankipuram and Aliganj.

“We have come up with some novel incentives to persuade people, particularly students, to join the campaign. For example, we have announced to give awards to students who look after the saplings planted by them.

“We also name the sapling after the student who plants it,” Kumar said.

(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at [email protected])