In an innovative game of anti-treasure hunt, 32 families in Mumbai spent the Sunday morning of March 26 taking up six crucial environment issues of concern for the city.
The initiative was planned by the organisation Know Your Environment (KYE) that works towards encouraging children to take up extracurricular activities that help them in developing their skills.
Photo source: Facebook
The families, which included some children aged four to five years old, not only completed the task successfully but also wrote letters of complaint to various government agencies about different environmental issues, according to a report by DNA.
To engage the participants in the activity and make it more interesting, the organisation had designed the competitive game of ‘anti-treasure hunt’. As part of the game, each family was asked to visit six problem spots between Cuffe Parade and Sewri Jetty, like GPO Kabutarkhana with the pigeon menace, areas with the issue of illegal parking, Sewri Jetty where fishing boats are repaired, Ganesh Murti Nagar where there’s an issue of encroachment on mangroves, areas facing problems due to construction of the Metro, pollution in the sea and areas with potholes.
The task was simple- the participants had to take photographs of different environmental issues at the locations, and even click a selfie of the entire family at the location with the ‘problem’. Then, they were to draft a complaint letter explaining the problem and stating how it was affecting the city and send it via email to the concerned authorities. After completing the task, they were to reach the allotted destination.
Nivedita Doshi and her husband Parin and children Evana and Krishay said that the activity was an eye-opener.
“We had been unaware of the seriousness of some of the issues we documented. We were shocked to see the encroachment close to mangroves and how pavements were being taken over for Metro construction work. One thing is certain that the next time we see an issue, we will surely not walk away, but click pictures and take the issue up with officials,” Nivedita told DNA.
While talking about how they came up with the idea for the initiative, Kavita Shivdasani of KYE said, “We had a bird watching session for the children at Sewri jetty recently where we noticed the garbage strewn at the creek, and pollution due to boats anchored there. While discussing these issues with marine enthusiast Pradip Patade, our resource person, we realised how as citizens we had simply become mute spectators and had not even protested.”
The realisation made the volunteers of KYE design the activity that would make people not only aware of the issues related to environment, but also allow them to take them up with government authorities.