By Rishika Das Roy
To commemorate Earth Day 2012, the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) joined with Earth Day Network-India to organize a photography contest for children to explore the environment through their camera lenses. The theme for the contest was Earth Day 2012’s slogan: Mobilize the Earth™. 2000 entries were received. The results were announced on World Environment Day (June 5).
The winning photographs included one entitled “Keep our Beaches Clean of Cigarette Butts and Litter.” India has a vast coastline – over 7,500 kms – and some beautiful beaches. However, many of these are in urgent need of clean-up. The photograph depicts a large amount of cigarette butts collected along one beach. Sadly, it is estimated that around 35 percent of garbage collected from some beach areas is plastic. To focus on reuse of plastic bottles, Earth Day Network-India organized a program last year that focused on recycling plastic, where members of the “Plastiki Crew” (Plastiki is a boat made from 12,500 recycled bottles that sailed from San Francisco to Australia) educated an eclectic audience on the issues of plastic and garbage.
Another winner, entitled “Blissful Nature,” captured magnificent snow-capped mountains. They are beautiful to look at, but what will happen to these with global warming? A recent study by the Bristol Glaciology Centre shows 148 billion tonnes of ice, or about 39 cubic miles, were lost annually between 2003 and 2010 in the Himalayas. This equates to some 1,000 cubic miles of ice disappearing between 2003 and 2010 – enough to cover the US in one-and-a-half feet of water. We are glad that the future of mountains and mountain people received a long-needed boost at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20)
The photograph “Save the Birds” was also commended. There is a growing awareness in India of the need to save our avian species. One such program gaining ground in urban India is “Save the Sparrows,” which is a cause that the winning team of this year’s MobilizeU contest from India also furthered.
Earth Day Network and CEE hope to continue this initiative with another competition for Earth Day 2013.