Thiruvananthapuram: Online registration related to Killiyar mega cleanup in December will fix the minimum age limit for volunteers at 15 years. They are afraid young internet-savvy Green Army members would enthusiastically register for the job that is too strenuous for their age. So, by default the online registration would not allow younger children to participate.
Some years ago, such a situation would have never risen, as young people, especially school students hardly engaged with Thiruvananthapuram Corporati-on. Now Green Army activities alone must have touched more than 4000 school students, according to Green Army mentor Nikhilesh Paliath.
“The message that one should not use straw or disposable pens has reached more than 4000 students in the city. Green Army units are in 30 schools,” says Nikhilesh Paliath.
The intiative has galvanised the participation of youth in the civic bodies’ development activities, and children have the highest participation, according to Thanal director Shibu K.N.
The recent phenomenon of increased participation of young people is not limited to Thiruvananthapuram, says environment educator Veena M.
“In 2000, I remember that children wouldn’t listen when we try and talk about various issues. Now, children seem to be interested in development and conservation problems. Recently when we went to Idukki for a forest club activity, children who weren’t part of the club wanted to participate. We can’t quite understand how the change happened. Maybe their parents want them to be more involved. Maybe the children have stopped accepting whatever grow-ups say, and started looking for logic, before they make their choices,” she says.
The avenues for children to participate in community activities are not limited to their schools either. Kerala State Commission for Child Rights Chairperson P Suresh says that while there have always been school clubs, groups like Student Police Cadets helped children engage with the society.
The mega-cleanup of Killiyar could be tough for children as young as 10 years. Though the width of the river is not much, the team which has done the survey is trying to understand how difficult it will be....