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What Are 100 School Kids Living Around Mangaluru Doing in Their Summer Holidays? Digging!

As part of a project started by the local government school, children in Malali are digging percolation pits to recharge groundwater and cope with water scarcity.

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There are two kinds of students: those who dread the idea of homework and others who don’t mind it too much. Particularly when the assignment in question is holiday homework — after all, how can pages of maths and grammar assignments compare to a lazy day spent in the company of friends, summer fruits and games.

In Malali, located in the outskirts of Mangaluru, students from a local government school seem to have taken a liking to their unique holiday assignment.

As part of a project started by their school, children are digging percolation pits in their area to recharge groundwater and cope with water scarcity.

L-R: Monsoons in South India; Source: Riyas.bca via Wikimedia Commons. Children digging pits; Source: Bangalore Mirror/Twitter

According to The Times of India, the project was launched in 2016, when students dug up around 250 pits and also built five kattas (check dams across rivers and streams) in Gurupur. According to K Padmashree, a science teacher in the school who spearheaded the project, more than 100 students are involved in the project.

The process began right before the summer holidays when students were introduced to water conservation and rainwater harvesting. Padmashree also requested the students to dig 10 percolation pits in their respective localities, giving example of the percolation pits she had dug in her own property.

She told TOI, “Many students sent me selfies with the pits they dug, but I am yet to calculate the total number. I will pay a visit to the areas where the children have dug up these pits and document them. They will be honoured for their work.”

According to Bangalore Mirror, students who dig the most pits will have their names displayed on the school board. Hastha Prathi, a booklet highlighting their work and achievements, is also slated to be published.


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Many parts of India, particularly states in the southern part of the country, are facing drought and acute water shortage. Rainwater harvesting can emerge as an important source of recharging groundwater and resolving the crisis.

As the project in Malali is being undertaken by children, the pits are somewhat smaller in size. Their intended impact, however, is much bigger.

Padmashree mentioned that the students have been instrumental in bringing about a change in mindsets and helped people appreciate the value of water and the necessity to conserve the precious resource.

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