This 11-YO Eco-Warrior Is Turning Vegetable Waste Into Paper
What do you think an 11-year-old would have been doing during the lockdown? While most children were busy with their smartphones and video games, Manya Harsha from Bengaluru was busy creating a change and calls herself an eco-activist.
Manya has developed eco-sustainable paper from vegetable peels that many of us dispose of. She is an enthusiastic volunteer at many green initiatives and is recognized by UN-Water for her environmental work.
“I celebrate every day as Earth Day. I believe it’s our responsibility to look after our surroundings and nature,” MANYA SAID, SPEAKING TO LIFE BEYOND NUMBERS.
During summer vacation, Manya devised a novel way to save thousands of trees at no expense. Her method can produce 2 to 3 A4 size sheets by using just 10 Onion peels.
Her first effort at producing paper turned out to be a complete failure. But she persisted in perfecting the technique until she could make sheets in various colors and patterns.
“I didn’t want to just see Mother Earth’s annihilation. She is our Mother, and it is our responsibility as her children to speak for our parents. I felt the same way. I adore my mother Earth and will stand up and speak up for her,” she said.
Being very young to fight for the battle against the Environmental crisis, she still did not want to stay silent. As we say, age is just a number. With the firm idea that the Pen is mightier than the Sword, she began writing poetry about “saving nature” and “stopping pollution.” That’s how she became a ‘Nature Themed Author’ by publishing five books already, and two more are on the way.
Manya has received the ‘Rising of India’ title from Earth.org India Network on this Independence Day.
Manya’s parents, Chitrashree and Harsha BS, who are avid travelers, led her to explore Nature and the vast and vivid outer world.
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“My family is my motivation. My parents always encourage me to self-learn and explore,” she said.
Manya’s mother, Chitrashree said, “We are proud of our daughter. She is curious from a very young age. She is experimenting and exploring with nature. We will always stand by her in making our planet better.”
“Making one paper a day keeps deforestation at bay, in my opinion. It’s an easy sustainable option to wet waste management,” MANYA ADDED.
Manya’s main motto behind her Eco-friendly activities is to create and spread awareness about climate action and the current need to ‘Act Green’.
It all began with her first ‘Kids Walkathon’ while she was just 8-years-old, which she organized to commemorate World Water Day and raise awareness amongst the public. She led the march with 38 other kids and 48 adults from the Doresani forest area to Puttenahalli Lake, Bengaluru.
Manya is a young editor of her kid’s journal Sunshine Fortnightly, where she writes inspiring pieces about eco-friendly lifestyles and encourages her young readers to do the same. She presented her Sunshine Fortnightly on Earth Day special edition by encouraging 48 people to plant a sapling.
Manya has also been recycling old-school notebooks into handcrafted recycled paper. She now produces paper bags out of handmade paper and distributes them to small shops.
Manya carries her handmade upcycled bags which she gives to local vendors, and she never fails to share her thoughts on how plastic is harmful to Mother Earth and individuals. She also educates the sellers on how to create these handbags from old newspapers at home.
“I’m a person who believes in Practice before you preach. During the Pandemic lockdown, I spent several days upcycling newspaper into bags. I knew, once things were back to normal, we first had to adhere to the excessive plastic littering that the world was all set to face. Hence Everywhere I go, I carry these Newspaper bags and distribute them to the local vendors who still use plastic bags!” Manya said.
Many people across the world have been inspired by Manya’s #vegetablepaper to start creating their paper at home. Her eco-sustainable approach to wet waste management and recycling has impressed many. Manya has given guest talks on how to turn everyday kitchen trash into vegetable paper to a variety of organizations and schools.
Manya is also the youngest author of the Kannada language. Her book “NEERINA PUTANI SAMRAKSHAKARU” (THE WATER HEROES) sheds attention on the present water problem and the easy answer that youngsters may follow together to safeguard the environment. This is her second book on the natural world.
She has received the India Book of Records for being the youngest to write a book on nature.
“I believe nothing in this world is a waste until you consider it one,” she said.
This was story was first published on Life Beyond Numbers.