Five exceptional youths from India have proudly secured their positions among a cohort of 17 international teen environmental activists, being honored with the prestigious 2023 International Young Eco-Hero Award for their resolute efforts in combatting the world’s most pressing environmental crises. These driven eco-advocates, recognized by the esteemed nonprofit organization “Action For Nature,” hail from diverse Indian cities—Eiha Dixit from Meerut, Manya Harsha from Bengaluru, Nirvaan Somany and Mannat Kaur from New Delhi, and Karnav Rastogi from Mumbai.
The International Young Eco-Hero Awards program, organized to inspire and recognize children and teenagers aged 8 to 16 who have embarked on impactful actions to address paramount environmental concerns, has identified these awardees as exemplars of eco-conscious youth who have taken significant strides in solving complex ecological issues. The laureates of the International Young Eco-Hero Award are meticulously chosen through a rigorous evaluation by a panel of independent judges, encompassing experts well-versed in environmental science, biology, and education. Over the past two decades, “Action For Nature” has proudly acknowledged and celebrated 339 Eco-Heroes hailing from 27 countries and 32 states across the United States.
Eiha Dixit, who secured the top position in this year’s competition, has nurtured a profound connection with the environment since the tender age of 4 by cultivating saplings. Through the Green Eiha Smile Foundation, Dixit and her group of volunteers have nurtured more than 20,000 saplings, fostering mini forests, parks, and verdant belts within her Indian city. This initiative not only provides shaded spaces but also contributes to cleaner air. Dixit’s additional endeavor involves a plant bank at her residence, which houses plants contributed by individuals who can no longer tend to them. These plants are ingeniously employed to propagate cuttings and seeds, thereby allowing others to obtain and nurture these plants at no cost.
Securing second place within the 8-12 year-old category, Manya Harsha has embarked on an ambitious journey to raise consciousness regarding environmental matters and climate action. Through her literary works, blog, and YouTube channel, aptly named “The Little Environmentalist,” Harsha endeavors to galvanize youth to initiate action and adopt environmentally mindful practices. Her repertoire of actions encompasses diverse activities, including walkathons, sapling plantations, distribution of seed balls, and orchestration of cleanup initiatives, all contributing to a tangible positive impact on the environment. Having distributed over 5,000 sustainable bags, planted 3,500 saplings, and dispersed 3,000 seed bombs, Harsha’s ceaseless commitment continues to shape a more promising future for forthcoming generations while safeguarding the planet.
Nirvaan Somany, securing the second spot in the 13-16 year-old category, is the pioneering force behind “Project Jeans,” an endeavor designed to counter the environmental toll imposed by the fashion industry, particularly concerning discarded denim. Simultaneously, Somany’s project addresses the needs of the underprivileged. His innovative approach involves repurposing used denim into washable and insulating sleeping bags for the homeless population. This endeavor not only curtails landfill waste but also affords improved protection against inclement weather conditions. With an impressive collection of 6,000 pairs of jeans and distribution of 800 sleeping bags to date, Nirvaan’s initiative yields a constructive impact on both the environment and the lives of those in need.
In the 13-16 year-old category, Mannat Kaur clinched the third position for her laudable initiative addressing water scarcity and associated carbon emissions linked to freshwater supply and wastewater treatment. Kaur has ingeniously devised a system for the collection, filtration, and reuse of greywater from households, intended for non-potable purposes. This pioneering solution extends beyond individual households, potentially saving substantial volumes of freshwater daily and simultaneously reducing operational and infrastructure expenses associated with sewage treatment for the city.
Finally, Karnav Rastogi, aged 13, has earned an honorable mention in this year’s competition due to his resolute dedication to raising awareness and taking concrete steps to combat climate change and reduce plastic waste. Through the creation of two books, “Kartik, Daddy & Plastic: A Journey About Beating Plastic Pollution” and “Kartik, Mixie & Monster: A Journey About Ocean Pollution,” Rastogi seeks to educate young minds about the profound impact of plastic pollution and climate change, while concurrently offering pragmatic solutions to address these issues. With a distribution of 5,000 copies of his books thus far, Rastogi’s endeavors have ignited countless young souls to assume the role of change champions.