As the world awaits the outcome of climate summit under way at Copenhagen, children in India's tech hub Bangalore are learning a thing or two about climate change and its effects through the innovative science exhibition on board the "Science Express".
Enthusiastic school children are thronging the exhibition on the specially-designed train that chugged into Cantonment Railway Station in Bangalore on Thursday.
The exhibition on the sparkling white, 16-coach AC train has been especially designed by the central government's science and technology department to create interest among children about the subject.
Along with acquainting curious children about various developments in the realms of science and technology, an entire coach is dedicated to the topic of climate change and is filled with photographs and literature showcasing "Climate change - cause, effect and mitigation."
"The idea is to create awareness among children about climate change and its effect in a simple and easy manner," Science Express project manager Raghav Pandya told IANS.
"Children of Bangalore seem to be quite interested to learn about climate change and global warming. Lots of children have thronged the coach to learn about climate change," he said.
"The coach showcases, through photographs and literature, the threats facing our environment, which has led to global warming. I hope world leaders and experts come up with some solutions on climate change acceptable to all," said Rajiv Lochan, a school student.
Prerna Naik, a 13-year-old school student, said that Copenhagen summit is the last chance to save the planet earth.
"A consensus on climate change has to be achieved at Copenhagen by all the 192 participating countries. Or, else the world will not get another chance to save planet earth from environmental crisis in coming years," she added.
The train was launched by department of science and technology in 2007. Currently it is in its third phase. As a part of its first phase, the special train was hosted by 57 towns and cities across India in 217 days. The second phase saw the train covering 51 cities in 181 days.
"In its third phase, the Science Express will travel to over 56 locations, most of which were not covered earlier, and traverse about 18,000 km in seven months," Pandya said.
"In every city and town of India, the train halts for at least three to five days. The main objective of the train is to nurture curiosity amongst youngsters about science and inspire them to take it up as their career," added Pandhya.
The Ahmedabad-based Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre has coordinated the Science Express, which includes more than 300 large format visual images, over 150 video clips and multimedia exhibits on various aspects of science and technology. It also has working models and a laboratory.
The exhibits have come mostly from Max Planck Society in Germany while some models were given by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai.
"The exhibition deals extensively with cutting edge research in science and technology and exhibits explaining the universe. One coach showcases the legacy of India, future programmes in technology and India's achievements in IT, biotech and space. Another special feature is the 'Joy of Science' lab in a coach where students can conduct hands-on science experiments," Pandya said.
"It's a wonderful idea to teach children about science and technology. Children are enjoying the models and exhibits, explaining science in an easier manner. Moreover, the beautifully designed train itself is drawing children in huge numbers," said Pooja Majumdar, a school teacher.
Over 7,000 students from various educational institutions from across the city visited the train during two days of its exhibition here. There is no entry fee to the exhibition, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cantonment Railway Station, where the train will stay till Dec 14.