Mumbai: To commemorate the World Environment Day 2003, Tata Infomedia's Bright Sparks has announced the launch of Be An Environment Champ, an activity and learning kit for children in the age group of seven-14 years.
This indigenous kit consists of information, illustrations, facts, projects and concepts that will enable children to understand and learn the importance of preserving our environment. These kits will be available throughout the country in all leading bookstores, stationary and departmental stores. The company plans to sell directly to educational institutions and corporate houses.
Be An Environment Champ kit is the latest product from Bright Sparks, the children's book division of Tata Infomedia, which publishes reference reading material for primary school children through activity books, colouring books, story books and information books.
The School Education Secretary, J M Phatak IAS, who graced the occasion and officially launched the kit, said: "The need to educate children on social and moral responsibilities need to be addressed on a large scale. We have embarked upon programmes to bring in new methods of teaching, both in urban as well as rural schools. We see in our daily life, how people have total disregard for our environment.
"By creating awareness within children from the very beginning stages of their education, we can ensure that the same mistakes done by the previous and present generations are not repeated. Concepts that bring fun to learning are bound to impress children better. I'm sure the kit will be a very effective tool to teach children the values and facts on our environment."
Speaking at the launch N D Khurody, chairman, Tata Infomedia, said: "It's very important to inculcate the importance of preserving and restoring our environment to the children from a very young age. Our environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate and it's our priority to educate the next generation on the ill effects of this rapid deterioration. Mankind has already lost hundreds of species of plants and animals due to the negligence, apathy and greed.
"They have been senselessly destroyed, generation after generation, and even today there are some species that are on the brink of extinction. Bright Sparks creates books that supplement the mental development of children. The topics range from math, English, pet care, riddles, moral science, and some are available in Hindi language as well."
"Kids are going to really enjoy learning from this Be An Environment Champ kit, said Bittu Sehgal, a leading environmentalist in the country. "The books have been thoughtfully designed and the contents are highly informative. Interactive, activity and games based teaching are very effective tools for children, besides they love to explore things.
"It's critical to bring to their notice the reason and the negative effects of environmental damage like large-scale deforestation, pollution from vehicles and industries, indiscriminate dumping of non-recyclable materials, polluting the air we breath and the water we drink and the food we eat. Unless and until foolproof solutions are found, these issues will cause irreversible damage."
Sunjoy Monga, naturalist and writer-photographer, much involved with children's activities, said: "I think all children are curious about nature, about birds, grasshoppers and flowers and all that they see around. Unfortunately, adults, the grown-ups, tend to rob this inherent enthusiasm from children portraying nature's wonders as dirty and dangerous so that instead of enjoying and respecting life, our children are made to view it as something that is dangerous.
"This is the very first mistake and one that goes on to influence our attitude towards environment and a deteriorating civic sense is a direct fallout of this mistake. A kit such as this was long overdue and I am sure will pave the way for a better understanding of our environment. All the very best to all those who helped create it."
Announcing the special programme for schools, Dinesh Kumar, divisional manager, Bright Sparks and Touch Stone divisions of Tata Infomedia, said: "On this World Environment Day we have formulised a unique initiative to show our commitment towards repairing the environmental damages. We would like to involve children in this project and hence we are initiating Bright Sparks Environment Champ Club.
"Under this club, participating schools will be given guidelines as to how they could undertake activities such as mass plantation, usage of recycled products and minimal usage of plastic. After the implementation of the programme in schools, a panel of judges will visit the schools and the best eco-friendly schools will be entitled to receive a grant of Rs 1 lakh from the Tata group or sponsors.
"We invite 50 schools to nominate 50 students each to plant trees at Yeor (Thane). We have acquired large plots of land at Yeor to implement a massive reforestation. We would like to set an example and show children the practical aspects of planting trees. We are confident that this exercise will make a major impact on the children, which will inspire them to participate in many reforestation programs in the future. Children most of the times have a greater influence on elders and can possibly break their inhibitions.
"Although we would like to involve all the children from every school, we are at this point of time restricting to 50 schools and purely on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each school will be allowed to nominate 50 students only. Transportation to Yeor will be the schools responsibility. We will provide the participants with a sapling and a plot to plant them in. We will also be providing the participants with refreshments and water."
Dinesh Kumar added: "In appreciation of each participating school, Tata Infomedia will present a memento to each of them. Besides, each student will get a certificate for his or her contribution towards saving our planet and beginning their duties as citizens of earth."
Tata Infomedia, formerly called Tata Donnelley, is one of India's leading content-generation companies and is a subsidiary of the $10-billion Tata group. The country's oldest and best-known printing company, it develops information products by creating strong brands that deliver quality and value to end users in the media of their choice.
Tata Infomedia has been at the forefront of printing technology in India. Its state-of-the-art plant at Nerul, Navi Mumbai, has equipment from the best manufacturers in Europe, the US and Japan, with the capability of providing the fastest turnaround times in the printing industry.