Indian children wish for a greener future


New Delhi : One-third of children across the globe are concerned about pollution, and over a quarter of children in India want to participate in afforestation activities, a global survey on children’s hopes, aspirations and fears revealed Tuesday.

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The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey revealed 27 percent of Indian children, more than the global average of 22 percent, want to contribute to environment by planting more saplings, ChildFund India, part of the NGO ChildFund International, said in a statement.

It showed 21 percent of Indian children worried most about lack of sanitation, followed by pollution (17 percent), lack of drinking water (14 percent) and deforestation (11 percent).

Another interesting finding of the survey is that children in developed countries dream of becoming professional athletes and entertainers, while children in the developing world aspire to be doctors or teachers. In India, 34 percent want to become teacher or academician, while 25 percent wish to become doctors to serve people.

The third annual survey, commissioned by ChildFund Alliance, which is founded by ChildFund International, has interviewed more than 6,200 children in 47 countries, including Afghanistan, India, US, France, Nicaragua, Zambia and Australia.

This unique poll of 10 to 12 years old not only gives a global snapshot of their views but also sheds light on the commonalities and differences between the developed and developing world, said the release.

Children were surveyed about their hopes, dreams and fears, as well as their thoughts on the environment. The report is a timely reminder for world leaders to consider the views of future generations, as the next round of UN climate talks begins in Doha this month.

“The results of the survey suggest that our children are not very happy with the environment which they have inherited from us. Thus, it’s essential to listen to their concerns and consider their views while we make legislations on climate change,” said Dola Mohapatra, national director of ChildFund India.

Secretary-general of ChildFund Alliance Jim Emerson said: “Globally, 34 percent of children surveyed cited pollution as their number one environmental worry – a borderless problem which affects both the developed and developing world in different ways.

“Regionally, we find other interesting trends. In the Americas, the number of children concerned about pollution rises to over 50 percent; however, in Africa and Asia, where close to half the children have experienced drought, natural disasters are the biggest environmental worry for over a quarter of children.”

“Similarly, when asked what would you do to improve the lives of children in your country if you were the president or leader of your country, 55 percent of Indian children said they could have improved the quality of education and provided all enrichment opportunities to children going to school. Globally 39 percent expressed the same wish,” said Mohapatra.

“This shows that children in India are not very happy with what they are offered at their schools. And this is exactly the area where ChildFund has been working relentlessly.

“Our programmes are designed not only to improve the quality of education and teacher and student relations, they also focus on improving the physical infrastructure and environment in the school,” Mohapatra added.