BY TALIKA ALWANI - 10 YEARS OLD - SINT MAARTEN
According to the World Health Organization, 99 per cent of the world now breathes polluted air. Air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to human health and causes 7 million premature deaths annually.
In Los Angeles, there’s a happy family with two daughters, Henna, 9, and Emily, 11. Henna is a joyful girl who cherishes everything she sees. She always wants to play in the backyard. Emily loves to play with her sister, but she can’t: she has allergies and asthma, and the polluted air in L.A. can make them worse.
Mother explained to Henna that if Emily plays in the polluted environment, she might need to be hospitalized.
Henna was not happy about that. She started to research what she can do to help Emily and others living with the same problems. She decided to make a poster and hang it on the walls:
HELP TO CLEAN OUR ENVIRONMENT
Avoid chemical sprays & cleaners.
Turn off the lights when not in use.
Walk or ride your bike to school.
Don’t drive if not necessary.
Avoid burning leaves, trash & other materials.
Avoid using gas-powered equipment.
Recycle & reuse.
Say no to plastic as much as you can.
With her dad’s help, Henna made the poster by hand and printed copies to hang near and far. Lots of neighbors came out to support. They told Henna and Dad their own stories. Henna found out that Emily isn’t the only one – lots of adults and kids have problems due to the environment.
Together, the neighbors came up with big ideas. Parents would use public transport for commuting. Kids would walk to school, as it wasn’t far. Senior citizens would care for gardens and do more planting to help produce oxygen. No one would use disposable straws or plastic at parties anymore.
In just 40 days, the whole neighborhood looked better, and kids and families started to come out and enjoy. Henna’s classmates told their friends in other schools about what they were doing. Soon, people everywhere started to help clean the environment.
Remember that the letter O stands for “opportunity,” which is absent in “yesterday,” available once in “today” and thrice in “tomorrow.” So, there’s still hope to save our planet today for our tomorrow. Let’s not repeat the mistakes we made yesterday!