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Four Indian Americans Win Young Eco-Hero Award

Four Indian Americans Win Young Eco-Hero Award

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (IANS) – Four Indian Americans are among 17 environmental activists who will be honored with the 2023 International Young Eco-Hero Award for their creative initiatives to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

The awards, presented by the US-based non-profit Action for Nature, recognize youngsters from ages eight to 16 for raising awareness of environmental issues and finding innovative solutions to tough environmental problems.

The Indian American winners include Satvika Iyer from California, Rahul Vijayan and Anushka Godambe from Texas, and Nitya Jakka from Illinois.

Satvika Iyer, 15, from Milpitas, has worked with various organizations and her school district to introduce a permanent plant-based menu with meat-free alternatives and salad bars.

Rahul Vijayan, 16, from Pearland has introduced on-site hydroponic farming, an efficient water-based gardening technique that works well in urban environments. He educates elementary and middle school students in his school district about sustainable gardening and provides them with microgreen kits for hands-on plant-growing experiences.

Nitya Jakka, 16, from Naperville, has developed a website and sensor system that addresses the issue of food waste through better climate-controlled transportation and storage.

Anushka Godambe, 16, from Austin, founded Plants in Classrooms to foster a love of gardening in K-12 students by teaching them to care for a classroom plant through practice, patience, and teamwork.

Since the beginning of this year, Action for Nature has honored 339 Eco-Heroes from 27 countries and 32 US states.

The winning projects are selected by a panel of independent judges, including experts in environmental science, biology, and education.

Five youngsters from India were also named.

Nine-year-old Eiha Dixit, who won the first prize, has been growing saplings to protect the environment since the age of four.Along with a group of volunteers, Eiha has planted over 20,000 saplings, creating mini forests, parks, and green belts in Meerut, and has also established a plant bank at her home.

Manya Harsha, 12, from Bengaluru, engages in activities such as walkathons, planting saplings, distributing seed balls, and organizing clean-up drives. With over 5,000 sustainable bags distributed, 3,500 saplings planted, and 3,000 seed bombs thrown, she continues to work tirelessly to create a better future for the coming generations, according to the award citation.

Nirvaan Somani, 16, repurposes used jeans into washable and insulating sleeping bags for the homeless, reducing landfill waste and providing better protection from harsh weather conditions. With 6,000 pairs of jeans collected, he has distributed 800 sleeping bags to date.

Mannat Kaur, 15, from New Delhi has designed a system to collect, filter, and reuse greywater from households for non-potable purposes.

Karnav Rastogi, 13, from Mumbai has written two books, “Kartik, Daddy & Plastic: A journey about beating plastic pollution” and “Kartik, Mixie & Monster: A journey about ocean pollution”, to educate young people about the impact of plastic pollution and climate change.

The winners will present their work at a virtual event anchored in San Francisco on August 26.

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