: Kerala government, with the help of students, is set to impart lessons on water conservation to 10 lakh families.
The Kerala state literacy mission unveiled a major drive'Jalasaksharatha' (water literacy) to create awareness among the public on the need to conserve water bodies in the state, known for its abundance of rivers, backwaters, waterfalls, streams and ponds.
The mission is to engage 70,000 learners, who pursue class X and higher secondary-equivalent programmes, for the state-wide initiative at a time when water scarcity and pollution are cause of worry.
The mission recently conducted a study which found that 26.90 per cent of water sources were completely polluted.
As many as 46.10 per cent of the over 3,000 water sources, such as ponds, canals, river and backwaters and public wells, surveyed in 2,003 wards is partly polluted, the study found.
A total of 1,302 ponds, 941 canals, 153 river stretches, 16 backwater stretches, 1,107 public wells and 87 others in various districts were surveyed as part of the study.
P S Sreekala, director of the mission, said the water literacy campaign was designed based on the findings of the study and suggestions of experts.
A special handbook 'The Water: Textbook for Environment Literacy Programme-1' has been brought out for the campaign, she said.
The 16-chapter book focuses on various aspects of water conservation ranging from the significance of saving potable water and removal of pollutants in water bodies to scientific conservation methods.
The colourful book, written in simple Malayalam, has also details of various existing laws on conservation of water, water bodies and regulation of pollution.
The drive would also contribute to the comprehensive programmes announced by the CPI(M)-led LDF government to reclaim lost water sources and rejuvenate the dying ones, she said.
As part of the drive, each student would take awareness classes on water conservation for at least 15 people residing in his or her locality.
At least one person from each family is expected to be trained in this manner.
"We hope at least 10 lakh families will be part of the campaign," the official said, adding that it would be conducted from June 20 to September 20.
Kerala has 44 rivers, over 50,000 ponds, 60,000 wells, lakes, backwaters and innumerable streams.
Experts have said overexploitation of groundwater, destruction of forests, unscientific utilisation of land, dumping of waste in water sources and sand-mining in riverbeds result in destruction of water sources in many places.
The 'Haritha Keralam Mission' of the government is envisaged to ensure conservation and protection of water sources, rainwater storage, reuse of water, recycling of used water and other alternative measures.
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