Science Express, named ‘Science Express Climate Action Special’ was on Friday flagged off with an aim of creating awareness about climate change. The Science Express will cover 68 stations across the country during its seven-month journey and will spread awareness about climate change. The stations include Agartala and Lumding in the northeast.
The 16-coach Science Express train is a collective effort of ministries of Railways, Environment and Science and Technology. The Science Express will travel to Tripura and north bank of the Brahmaputra for the first time.
The eight coaches of the Science Express are focussed on information, caste studies and materials related to various aspects of climate change.
The exhibitions mounted by the Environment Ministry will also showcase the underlying science, impacts, adaption activities, mitigation solutions and policy approaches in a manner that is easy to understand and interesting for not just school students but also the masses.
The focus is on what can be done at school, on roads, at home and in offices and also on the concept of lifestyle choices.
A kids’ zone is set up for children from Class 4 and below to participate in fun-filled activities, game and puzzles in science, mathematics and environment.
The Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology have set up exhibits and activities in the remaining eight coaches.
Three coaches are fitted with solar panels on the roofs as railways is focusing on clean energy. The train will stop at each station for students and others to visit the exhibitions in coaches. The train will cover 68 stations ending the journey at Gandhinagar station on September 8.
Union Ministers, who pitched for cleaner environment, said on Friday that collaborative efforts and “not blame game” will help address the problems arising out of climate change.
“Climate change is a big problem now. We have to take steps in a concerted and collective way to address it,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the launch of Science Express.
Referring to Paris Agreement, Prabhu said India’s contribution in the global pact is immense. “India has a major contribution in Paris Agreement. We are part of the solution, we are not part of the problem.”
The main aim of the Paris Agreement, which came into effect on November 4, 2016, is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and to deal with it effectively.
He said three ministries have collaborated in the Science Express initiative. “The need of the hour is to take steps collectively to achieve the target.”
Welcoming the launch of such train, Minister of State for Environment Anil Madhav Dave said there is need for Science Express to connect with thousands of villages.
Science Express, operational since 2007, has so far travelled 1,42,000 km distance and covered 455 locations in the country.
“Science Express, which will travel to many places, is yet to reach 6.5 lakh villages,” Dave said and added, “Unless we involve common people in creating awareness about climate chane it it will remain confine to seminars only.”
The Environment Minister said everyone has to contribute to address the problem. “We all have a role to play. Blame game is not a solution.”
Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said the Science Express has got good response since its launch and there is a need for more such trains.
“We need one such train each year for four years to reach out to every corner of the country. There is a need for involvement of common people for creating awareness.”
Referring to the role of transport sector in green house gas emissions, the Railway Minister said steps have been undertaken by his ministry to generate renewable energy like wind and solar power.
“We have firmed up plans to save Rs 41,000 cr in energy bill in the next five years through the use of solar power and other renewable energy,” Prabhu said.