Indian teenagers Vihaan and Nav win International Children's Peace Prize for waste management project

The boys took inspiration from David Attenborough, a British naturalist and Jane Goodall, a conservationist as well as from their grandparents.

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Image Source: One Step Greener Instagram

Two Indian teenage brothers Vihaan who is 17-year-old and Nav Agarwal, who is 14-year-old have won the 2021 KidsRights International Children's Peace Prize for tracking pollution from household waste. Their initiative 'One Step Greener' segregates recyclable materials and organizes pickup of trash from thousands of homes.

Indian Children's rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi who won the 2014 Peace Prize jointly with Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai presented the award run by Dutch-based KidsRights foundation to the brothers at a ceremony in Hague.

As per the reports, the brothers said that living in Delhi has majorly affected their health due to the high pollution levels, especially asthmatic Vihaan's has severely affected. The deteriorating air quality restricted the boys' outdoor activities. Hence, they decided to take some action to diminish pollution. 2017, Ghazipur landfill collapse incident wherein two people were killed and which also led to a spike in pollution gave a boost to the boys' inspiration of starting 'One Step Greener'.

Reportedly, the thought in their mind was that the waste created by them should not go to the landfills, and the waste should not become the fodder for the fire. The boys took inspiration from David Attenborough, a British naturalist and Jane Goodall, a conservationist as well as from their grandparents.

Their recycling initiative started from their home, they used to separate recyclables from the rubbish, and slowly the initiative grew. In 2018, when they were 14 and 11 years old, they started with 15 homes and now around 1,500 homes along with offices and schools are part of the initiative.

As of now, the initiative is operating in Delhi and, a neighbouring city, they have plans to expand it in Kolkata with an interest to make the project international. Vihaan and Nav are also educating people about recycling through their social media, which has a reach of about 50,000 and the curriculum which are in English and Hindi.

The brothers reportedly said that winning the KidsRights prize and a grant for their education along with 1,00,000 euros for their project was an honour, and they are hoping that it inspires others as well.