Mumbai: 5-year-olds ask Japanese PM 'Shinzo Uncle' to Save Aarey
After #ModiUncleSaveAarey video went viral but got no reaction from govt, kids around Aarey forest release video asking Japanese PM 'Shinzo Uncle' Abe, to intervene
How best to get people to sit up and take note of what you have to say? By getting cute children to convey your perspective, of course. The latest video going viral on the save-Aarey issue has a bunch of cherubic five-year-olds holding up placards and requesting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Save Aarey.
In February, a video featuring children and petitioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save Aarey had gone viral. The #ModiUncleSaveAarey video touched 25,000 views on social media (non-WhatsApp). In the latest video, the children are also seen pointing out the importance of Aarey forest to the city.
All the five-year-olds in the video are those who live around the green lung and who regularly visit the area. At the start of the video, five-year old Arjun Mehta is seen speaking in Japanese, requesting the Japanese PM to save Aarey.
The video also raises some important points such as how Mumbai is the world's fourth most polluted megacity as per a WHO survey and how 1,00,000 below-five-year-olds had died in India in 2016 due to pollution(Lancet).
The other children in the video, which also has Japanese subtitles, are Aarom Brahmbhatt , Shuraya Singh, Saisha Kothari, Dhir Sachdeva, Ankur Bankda , Ayanna Kochar. In the video, the children say they are happy to have the Metro in Mumbai but are asking why a forest had to be cut down for a Metro car shed when there were so many other options around.
Jalpesh Mehta from Empower Foundation, who created both videos, said, "The earlier video #ModiUncleSaveAarey received a tremendous response across various several social media platforms. Now, we have made another video which has kids requesting the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to Save Aarey Forest which is under threat from Metro work. The underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro III project is funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Aarey forest's rich biodiversity is crucial for the entire city. We want our message to reach the Japanese PM."
2,000 trees will be cut
The car shed or the car depot for Metro III is coming up on a 30-hectare plot inside Aarey Milk Colony and will require the cutting down of more than 2,000 trees. It was because of the strong support to the movement by NGOs and activists that the government had even appointed an expert committee to suggest alternatives to the car depot. But, despite seven suggestions by the expert committee, activists alleged that the government decided to go ahead and construct the depot inside Aarey after all.
"The video also speaks about JICA Japan approving the loan despite seven misrepresentations of MMRCL on Aarey's wildlife and biodiversity. We hope this first-of-its-kind international escalation will make the necessary noise to help move the Metro shed out of Aarey," Mehta said.
He added, "Both the prime ministers, Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe are pro-environment and we hope the request from the kids, the next generation, reaches them and they help save the forest. In the whole process, these five-year-olds have become junior environmentalists and now prefer spending time in the forests rather than at play zones or on mobile phones. At this young age they are able to influence more kids to get closer to nature besides making a lot of Mumbaikars aware about the rich biodiversity of Aarey."
No. of trees that needs to be cut for 30-hectare car shed
Area of plot in Aarey where the Metro carshed is coming up
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