Vinisha Umashankar stood out in the “Clean Our Air” category with her concept of a clean, solar-powered alternative to the charcoal-powered irons that iron the clothes of millions of Indians every day. Takachar, co-founded by Vidyut Mohan, was also nominated in the same category for its portable, low-cost, small-scale technology that converts crop residues into salable bioproducts.
They will now both receive tailored support and resources from members of the Global Earthshot Prize Alliance, a network of private sector companies around the world who will help advance the shortlisted solutions.
“I am honored to introduce the 15 innovators, leaders and visionaries who are the first finalists for the Earthshot Prize. They are working with the urgency required in this decisive decade for life on Earth and will inspire us all with their optimism in our ability to succeed. the greatest challenges in human history, ”said Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
“Over half a century ago, President Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ program united millions around the goal of reaching the moon. Inspired by this, the Earthshot Prize aims to mobilize collective action around our unique ability to innovate, solve problems and fix our planet, ”he said.
One day, on her way home from school, Vinisha saw an ironing vendor throwing charcoal in the trash, which led her to study the impact of charcoal. She saw how the smoke causes lung disease among vendors and was shocked to learn of the connection between charcoal and deforestation – every year industrial quantities of trees are felled to make charcoal.
Earthshot Prize analysts note: “Vinisha’s solar cart replaces dirty coal with clean energy from the sun. Five hours of sunlight powers the iron for six hours – a win for the environment is a win for the sellers too. Additional mobility means they can sell on doorsteps as well as on the side of the road.
“Phone recharges and integrated charging points also bring additional income. Overall, the ironing cart contributes to 13 of the 15 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
The schoolgirl now plans to make the solar ironing cart in India and sell it affordably and also wants to export it to Asia, Africa, and wherever the sun shines all year round.
“Vinisha’s example shows that by innovating today, the next generation can create a cleaner future,” analysts of the award said.
Vidyut Mohan’s social enterprise, Takachar, was chosen for its efforts to address the very serious health effects of people in Delhi and the surrounding area caused by the burning of agricultural waste, a major cause of pollution in Delhi. air and reduced life expectancy.
Price analysts note: “Takachar has developed portable, small-scale, inexpensive technology that attaches to tractors on remote farms. The machine converts crop residues into salable bioproducts like fuel and fertilizers.
“Takachar’s technology reduces smoke emissions by up to 98%, which will help improve air quality which is currently reducing the life expectancy of the affected population by up to five years. If scaled up, it could reduce a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year: a victory for Indian farmers will be a victory in the fight against climate change. ”
Vinisha and Vidyut, along with 13 other finalists from countries including Bangladesh, China, Nigeria, Costa Rica and Switzerland, now have a chance to win £ 1million to support their innovative environmental solutions at some of the most major challenges facing the planet. .
More than 750 entries were selected through an independent assessment process led by Deloitte, the award’s implementing partner, with entries shortlisted and then assessed by a global expert advisory panel.
Five of the 15 finalists announced will receive the Earthshot Award in five categories: Protect and Restore Nature; Purify our air; Revive our oceans; Building a world without waste; and Let’s fix our climate.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on October 17 at Alexandra Palace in London.