NEW YORK (TIP): A cadre of Indian American youth was among the winners announced by Action For Nature’s International Young Eco-Hero Awards, with three individuals earning honorable mentions while one youngster of Indian-origin took home a second place prize.
According to its website, Action For Nature’s award honors the work of young people between the ages of 8 and 16 who have executed creative environmental projects.
The judges are experts in environmental science, biology, and environmental health, and the winners receive a cash prize and a special certificate.
Aarushee Nair was the sole prize winner, slotting in at runner-up in the competition’s 13 to 16 age group.
Nair, of Haryana, India, earned the award for her design of the Blu Pak, a biodegradable container that can hold 350 milliliters of clean drinking water and has a packet of oral rehydration salts pasted on the side. It also has a small beak-shaped outlet so that fluids can be easily administered to infants. She designed the Blu Pak after learning that thousands of Indian children under the age of 5 were dying due to a lack of clean drinking water.
Sai Sameer Pusapaty, 16, of Texas, received an honorable mention in the 13-16 age group for his efforts in promoting the importance of recycling, according to Action for Nature. After realizing many people don’t understand what can be recycled and how, he developed tools for his community to make recycling easier and more efficient.
He even developed a mobile app that he calls Recycle Buddy. It can scan a UPC or QR code and display the recycling information for any given product. It can also perform generic lookups for disposal information based on the material and the item type.
Anuj Sisodiya, 16, of Connecticut also earned an honorable mention for embarking on a project to mitigate the energy waste caused by holiday lighting that is left on during the day.
He created a project that encouraged the use of an electrical light timer to prevent lights and lighting displays from being left on for extended hours.
Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, his Web site, public canvassing, and booths at grocery stores, he distributed free electrical light timers to help save energy across town.
Furthermore, he formed a team of school volunteers who devoted approximately 500 volunteer hours, and he worked with town leaders, energy company program managers, and vendors to effectively execute his project.
By creating a sample study of his local community he learned that this campaign had the potential to save about 1 million-kilowatt hours of power in the town of Trumbull, Conn. preventing up to 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide being released into the environment.
Anirudh Suri notched a third honorable mention for Indian Americans after he masterminded a successful recycling program in his local community to cut down on battery waste.
With the help of his school principal, Anirudh developed the One Cell program. He purchased envelopes for collecting batteries, customized them, and sent them home with students to return with all the used batteries inside their homes.
Anirudh began the program when he was 9 years old and 5 years later the program is still growing. His goal for One Cell is to expand the program to more schools so that he can collect more batteries.
In the past three years, he has collected more than 1100 pounds of batteries. This year his goal is to collect over 700 pounds.