4 Bay Area teens win 2021 International Young Eco-Hero awards for strategies to fight climate change

BySandhya Patel and Tim Didion via KGO logo
Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Four Bay Area students with unique strategies for fighting climate change and protecting our environment have won the Eco-Hero award.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Four Bay Area students with four unique strategies for fighting climate change and protecting our environment will be given the Eco-Hero award this weekend.

Fremont teenager Ganesh Kumar decided to target plastic pollution and won a notable mention for his do-it-yourself, biodegradable straw.

"For starters it is made up of biodegradable palm leaves which you can compost in your back yard. And it can break down into rich nutrients in less than two months," Kumar explained

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Romal Mitr, 15, launched a project called Reimagining Earth, that included everything from map making to lobbying lawmakers, and working towards creating an environmental youth council in her hometown of Dublin.

"If Dublin has their own Climate Action Plan, I wondered why youth couldn't be included in that plan, why youth couldn't be allowed to take charge of the matters in their own city," says Mitr.

Amelia Fortgang, 16, of San Francisco came up with her own way to get young people involved in climate action, with a Bay Area youth climate summit, that drew participants from 14 states and five countries.

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"And at that summit we launched 50 different climate action plans which student implemented at their schools throughout the year. So those look like everything from installing air quality sensors for wildfires, and getting teracycle bins for a school," she says.

Finally, Aarushi Wadhwa of San Jose took home a first place in the 15-to-16 year old division for her work on the Aqua Pod. The small sponge feeders are designed to prevent overwatering, and make plant growth more efficient.

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"But basically we make an incision here," explained Wadhwa pointing to the tip of the sponge, "and fill it up with the natural ingredients."

According to contest sponsor, Action for Nature, the challenge was to find solutions for tough environmental problems. A goal four Bay Area teenagers are well on their way to accomplishing.

To learn more about the contest and the various projects, follow the links below:

Protect Jatropha


Bay Area Youth Climate Summit

Reimagining Earth

Action for Nature