Article from Indian Express - maybe guys from Mumbai area can verify this report but it sounds interesting.
In Delhi the campaign to reduce the crackers in Diwali was successful because the message was passed through the children in school who then passed on the message at home to their parents to stop or minimise the crackers in Diwali.
Communications strategies built around schools seem to have more significant impact as these case studies have shown.
Saving environment, the traditional way
Prashant RangnekarPosted online: Wednesday, December 19, 2007
DAHANU (THANE), Dec 18: Traditional is sometimes eco-friendly. Five students of a school in the tribal Aine village near Dahanu realised this while working on a project on fishing methods adopted by their elders.
Aged between 12 and 13 years, the students of Gram Mangal School —- run by an NGO —- chose aquatic bio-diversity in Aine and Dabhone villages of Dahanu, Thane, as the topic for their project.
Armed with interesting findings after a research of year-and-a-half, the students will now represent Maharashtra at the National Children’s Science Congress in Baramati in December-end and the National Science Congress in Visakhapatnam in January next year.
Located next to each other on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, Aine and Dabhone villages are surrounded by forest and hills and are located on the banks of Susri and Surya rivers, respectively. The predominantly tribal population of the two villages, comprising the Katkaris and Mahadev Koli communities, doesn’t have much to choose from to eke out a living. During rainy season, they cultivate paddy. After monsoon, they either migrate or make charcoal, which is used by dye-making factories on the coast. And their staple diet is rice and fish.
When the students began interviewing the elders, they realised that the techniques the villagers used to catch fish not only affected the marine life but also proved harmful for their crops.
“They sprinkled insecticides or pesticides in the rivers and streams to kill fish,” says Sikin Karmoda (13), one of the students who will represent the state at the Pune conference. But how could they eat poisonous fish? “It’s easy —- just chop its head, remove the gut (intestine), wash it properly and cook it,” says Karmoda.
The students found that the villagers also resorted to power theft. They connected a cable to the live wire on an electricity pole and left it in the water for about 10 minutes, killing all the marine life in the area. At other times, the villagers used gelatine sticks —- easily available in the region famous for quarrying.
“These techniques are not only dangerous for those who catch fish, but also harmful for the ecological system,” points out Rohidas Sumda (13), another team member.
“The density of fish in the river had decreased, the water was getting polluted and we were losing out on our major diet. Plus, the crops were getting affected,” Sumda said. The students realised that the traditional fishing methods, the tribals had discontinued, which were far more effective and environment-friendly.
Among them was the use of juice of wild fruits to blind or make fish unconscious. “It made catching fish easier and also didn’t pollute water,” said Suresh Aardi, a former sarpanch of Dabhone village.
The students and villagers later took out rallies and even staged street plays to drive home their message. “Initially, the villagers were quite hesitant,” the students say, but slowly their campaign started having the desired effect. Last February, the panchayat adopted a resolution to penalise erring villagers. “Though we can’t say that villagers have stopped resorting to environmentally harmful techniques altogether, the number of such incidents has reduced by 80-90 per cent,” Themka adds.