NEW DELHI: Children are the future and they can play a vital role in the protection of the environment, Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said on Tuesday.

Addressing schoolchildren from across the country at a virtual programme, the minister of state for environment said it is important to sensitise them on the subject from an early age.

“Children are the future of today, not of tomorrow. Children can play an important role in environmental protection. They have to be sensitised towards environmental protection. So that along with aging brings sensitivity towards the environment,” he said.

During the interaction, he encouraged them to become brand ambassadors of environmental protection and inspire others.

“Children should motivate their mother, father, neighbourhood and also everyone in school for planting trees and taking special care on cleanliness,” Choubey said at the programme organised by Routes to Roots organisation on the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Sky Day.

He said that concerted efforts will have to be made to make children socially sensitive from the school level itself.

“It needs to be made more comprehensive and creative so that children are sensitive towards their social duty,” Choubey said.

He congratulated Rakesh Gupta, Tina Vachani and Rohit Kumar, founders of the organisation for organising the programme and gave the slogan of ‘Swach Pawan Neel Gagan’.

Children also asked questions to the minister about the steps taken by the government for environmental protection.

Choubey administered an oath to the children: “My Earth My Pride. It’s my job to make it clean. It’s our job to make it clean.”

As many as 19,000 children from Delhi, Assam, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Madhya Pradesh and other states participated in the programme along with children from Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Russia.