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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Edition 5:Encouraging Children to Use RTI for Greener Envirponment

Last week Cityblog published news about Hill stations inside Pune. We received a lot of feedback that we should use our forum to explore what can be done by school children to use RTI for greener causes.
From demanding to know the status of and expenses incurred in river-cleaning projects to the level of pollutants being let out into the environment by industries, school students from across the country can learn how to use the Right to Information (RTI) Act to address environmental concerns.
To be able to take any action, we first need to know what is happening in our cities and its environment and the RTI Act can empower school students to do so.
Students should be trained to file applications under the RTI Act to know the status of and expenses incurred on government projects to clean up various rivers and lakes. The students can also ask for the levels of pollution being let out into the air, lakes or land by industries
Sumedh Shah, a Class 8 student Bishops in Pune, said: 'Everyone must be aware of green issues facing our planet. After all every living organism needs oxygen to live.’
Sumedh, has already planted six trees to do his bit in conserving the environment, and now plans to use the RTI Act to make an impact.
Devika Athavale a Class 10 student , said she was concerned about the climate change. 'I have made several power-point presentations in my school to make my fellow students aware of the fact that we are responsible for global warming, and how we can live more responsibly’.
Contrary to popular notion that schoolchildren are too young to understand green issues, the kids show more concern.
Thanks to the RTI Act, students too can make a lot of difference, besides spreading awareness in their homes, neighborhood and schools.
The RTI Act of 2005 is a watershed legislative measure for Indian democracy. A crucial law for the promotion of transparency and accountability from the government, it allows citizens to demand information (in the form of records, documents, samples and orders) from the government regarding any govern-ment department or office. The provision of a penalty clause also reduces the chances of denial of granting information or giving incomplete information on the part of government officials.

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