Saturday March 18th marks Global Recycling Day, and there are definite pro's & con's to recycling, it is still a better option than landfill or ocean pollution. Whilst high profile campaigners such as Greta Thunberg deservedly receive a lot of International attention, there are many campaigners that go below the radar.So, with this in mind, we'd like to profile Aditya Mukarji. As a 13-year-old boy Aditya was moved to start a campaign to eliminate plastic straw use after seeing a video of a doctor trying to remove a straw from a turtle's nose.
The majority of teenagers nowadays are preoccupied with their schoolwork, friends or the newest TikTok craze. Aditya, on the other hand, stopped scrolling at the shocking video and decided to take action.
Aditya Mukarji's tireless efforts and dedication to prevent anything bad from happening to turtles again due to the waste we produce was a huge success. He focused on creating a small recycling campaign within his community and businesses in New Delhi. Within the first five months, he was able to convince restaurants and hotels to stop using plastic straws, resulting in the replacement of over 500,000 plastic straws.
This might be only the drop in the ocean compared to the 8.3 billion plastic straws that end up in the ocean every year but at least it’s a start.
When looking up the statistics on the impact it has on wildlife and marine life, it would make you feel sick. Not only are we putting the ocean at risk, but we are also putting ourselves at risk by using carcinogenic chemicals in the production of plastic.
This was the driving force that made the young teenager continue to work with local NGOs to help raise awareness, making a significant impact on every project he took on.
His environmental impact intensified when he took on the role and major responsibility of being a young climate leader for the UN Campaign's promotion of action in India as well as inspiring the youth to recycle.
Mukarji noticed one of the biggest issues when it came to recycling was the lack of awareness and education among the public. He saw this as a great opportunity to involve the younger generation in helping with the issues and challenges that face the recycling industry in the future.
Mukarji led the very successful urban forestry campaign, ‘Forest of Hope’. This global youth program was to get the younger generation from around the world to grow one tree for the children in each sovereign member state of the UN.
He conducted 1600 workshops for schoolchildren and is responsible for reaching 8,000 people to lead a sustainable life. The campaign resulted in 9000 trees being planted and a continued spread of knowledge.
Mukarji is currently blogging and expanding his audience through social media. Through inventive videos, he disseminated important information as well as recycling advice. He has taken on the important responsibility of serving as the UN's young climate leader and motivating young people to recycle. Mukarji’s actions have had a significant positive effect on the environment, and his online presence has motivated younger generations.
With the younger generation becoming more knowledgeable and self-aware, we hope that they will correct previous mistakes and develop long-term, practical solutions to plastic pollution in our oceans. Aditya Mukarji is an excellent example of how a single teenager can have a far-reaching impact on his community.
Global Recycling Day gives us an opportunity to learn about young leaders like Aditya Mukarji, possible solutions, and the hope that change can be achieved. Lately, the media has been focused on the detrimental effects that large corporations and businesses have on climate change, while it is still important to campaign against environmental pollution. Aditya Mukarji's showed that even small actions by individuals can have a huge impact.