A 12-year-old environmental activist from Mumbai has been named as a 2021 International Young Eco-Hero in recognition of his efforts to solve tough environmental problems.
Ayaan Shankta has won the third place in the 8-14 age category for his project, ‘Conservation and Rehabilitation of Powai Lake’, according to a media release issued recently.
He is one of the 25 young environmental activists from across the globe honoured by the Action For Nature (AFN). The International Young Eco-Hero, an award that recognises eco-conscious youth, aged 8 to 16, who are taking crucial steps to solve tough environmental problems.
"My mission is for the lake to regain its past glory as a clean and vibrant body of water," says Ayaan, who lives near the lake, which once used to be a source of drinking water for Mumbai, but has now become a dumping ground for garbage and sewage.
His project aims to raise awareness about pollution, bring together efforts to clean up the lake, and protect its ecosystem. In addition to working with NGOs to raise awareness and organise clean-ups, Ayaan has authored an action report on lake conditions and is also currently working on a documentary about Powai Lake. "Not only will this help in bringing about ecological balance in the thickly populated city of Mumbai, but it will also help to conserve endangered species," he says.
Kids like Ayaan have shown that the next generation of leaders is here, and they are refusing to wait to solve the world's most pressing environmental challenges, says Beryl Kay, president of Action For Nature, an international non-profit organisation that encourages young people to nurture a love and respect for the Earth and to take personal action to improve the environment.
"The projects that these young people created will not only have real, positive impacts on their communities, they will also help solve global climate challenges and inspire others, no matter what age, to consider what they can do to help," he says.