Riva won third prize in the 13-16-year-old age category for her project ‘Electronic Waste Recycling’.
A 14-year-old student in Dubai, who had collected and recycled more than 20 tonnes of e-waste, recently received top honours from a US-based non-profit organisation.
Riva Tulpule, an Indian national, is one of 17 young environment activists from across the globe who earned an award from Action for Nature (AFN). They were named as this year’s International Young Eco-Heroes, a recognition given to eco-conscious youth aged eight to 16 for their creative initiatives aimed at tackling critical environmental challenges.
AFN is an international non-profit organisation based in San Francisco, California, that encourages young people to nurture a love and respect for Earth’s natural resources and take action to better their environments.
Riva won third prize in the 13-16-year-old age category for her project ‘Electronic Waste Recycling’. What began as a small community project in 2017 has now evolved into a major enterprise. “By increasing public awareness and enlisting the help of friends as well as local businesses, I have now collected and recycled more than 20 tonnes of e-waste,” said Riva.
She began working on the project when she turned 12. “I collected one tonne of e-waste in the first year,” she explained.
The recycling came to her when she saw an entire drawer of obsolete electronic items in her home.
Realising that these items would have to be properly disposed of – and discovering that there were not many recycling collection points in Dubai- Riva began to raise awareness on social media. She went door to door to collect similar items from other homes. “Over time, I was able to enlist the involvement of local corporations and schools. Large items were collected for free by a recycling partner, ENVIROSERVE, through their Green Truck initiative,” she explained.
Likewise, Dubai-based start-up HUBUN provided complimentary rides to her volunteers in women-driven limousines to help with door-to-door collections.
Riva concurrently started another project teaching menstrual hygiene for women and young girls in rural India through her own platform, WECareDXB. She has raised funds at Diwali events and parties, and subsequently ‘adopted’ 700 girls from the tribal area of Maharashtra, India. She provided them with a one-year supply of sanitary pads.
Lauding the teenager for her efforts, Beryl Kay, president of AFN, said: “Kids like Riva have shown that the next generation is refusing to simply stand on the sidelines. Instead, it is turning its passion for helping the planet into projects that have tangible, positive impacts on the environment.”
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