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Green teens clean mean streets

Taru Mitra volunteers
The children have planted over 30 street side gardens Pics: Prashant Ravi

As part of a series on young environmentalists in the BBC's Generation Next season, Soutik Biswas reports from Bihar on youngsters creating an oasis in the heart of one of India's most polluted and lawless cities.

In busy and chaotic Patna, capital of Bihar, one of India's most backward and poorest states, a 10-acre farm has been converted into the city's only bio-reserve, by children. They belong to Taru Mitra (Friends of Trees), a group of youngsters committed to preserving the environment.

The dense reserve is dotted with some 50 varieties of trees, environment-friendly buildings with bamboo and waste paper roofs, ponds, a solar energy-powered office, and a compost making unit.

All of this is the labour of love of a few thousand children from a little more than 100 schools in a city where lawlessness is rife and children have been kidnapped in the past for ransom.

Abhishek Bharadwaj, 15, Achala Parmar, 14, and Wartika Pande, 13, are among the school children who have been planting trees and greening a city where, by one estimate, there is only one tree for every 2,000 people.



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