by GreenMinute News

Kidathon – Run for Environment, 2020 was recently held in Bengaluru to create awareness amongst children about caring for our environment and the need to go for changes in our day to day lifestyle. This event was the first ever kids running event that adopted zero-waste concept from start to finish and became an easy lesson for kids to learn.

The event was organized by Shanti Juniors (a pre-school), Kalyan Nagar which concentrates on the holistic development of the child.  The brainchild behind the event was Mahesh A J, Centre School Director and his wife Meena Guptha. The main objectives of this event was to allow the children to have fun and learn at their own pace without creating competition as each child is different and is a winner.

According to the organizers, it was also to sensitize children and their parents about environment but in a friendly way. The entire event was completed by adopting eco-friendly practices and ensuring zero waste. The event was organised for children below 12 years wherein 116 children, along with their parents took part.  Even a three-month-old baby took part, however, the parents had kept the baby in a baby carrier.

Urban conservationist and tree doctor Vijay Nishanth who took part in the event motivated the children through his inspirational speech and ran with the kids to encourage them. Play is the highest form of learning is the motto of this pre-school and they provide maximum opportunities for children to celebrate childhood while learning.  The organizers said, “We allowed the children to choose either to walk, run or skate along the track without the stress of competition.”

The event was split across two days.  On the first day, a lot of traditional and fun games including a fun quiz and an exhibition on eco-friendly alternatives were held. Lot of pictures about animals feeding on plastics, recovery of plastic bags from the stomach of the dead animals, etc were shown to the children.  Further, they were taught about refusing single use plastics and their alternatives with pictorial representation. The second day started with a pledge to stop using single use plastic, to carry water bottles and carry bags whenever stepping out of the house, to segregate waste and use public transport.

As far as the Kidathon was concerned, a lot of meetings and brain storming sessions were held to ensure that the entire event was conducted in eco-friendly and zero waste manner. Bib numbers were given to each participant that  was stamped (washable) on the T-shirt thereby, avoiding any usage of paper. No mineral water plastic bottles were used in the event as water dispenser units were kept all along the event. This way, around 250-300 plastic bottles were saved from reaching the landfill! Further, there were no route markers as volunteers stood at equal distances holding the boards to show the route.

Finally, a sponsor agreed to give snacks in a paper pouch while juice was offered in steel tumblers, thereby completely avoiding plastics. In the event of zero waste, the segregated waste bins remained empty as the school managed to do a successful event. By going green on both the days and by meticulous planning and monitoring every single step, the organizers say they have saved the Earth from more than 1000 plastic items reaching the landfill. 

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