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11-year-old collects 2,000kg waste to spread message of recycling

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 30/06/2018 Ashwani Kumar
11-year-old collects 2,000kg waste to spread message of recycling © Provided by Khaleej Times 11-year-old collects 2,000kg waste to spread message of recycling

He is only 11 years old but on a life mission to create awareness about recycling and spread word on scary facts of paper waste.

"In last 12 months, I have collected 2,000kg of paper waste for recycling with my door-to-door campaign. This helps to save trees," Siddarth Pai, Grade 7 student of Abu Dhabi Indian School, said.

"Collecting paper waste is part of my life now. Such simple actions can make a big difference. Last year, I became a member of the Dubai-based Emirates Environmental Group (EEG)," he said.

As part of the Emirates Environmental Group's 'One Root One Communitree' project, Siddarth had collected 1,000kg of paper waste in April.

"I went on a door-to-door campaign. When I reached my target, EEG team members came and took the paper waste for recycling. And as a reward, by year-end, I will get to plant two trees in my name."

Also, under the 'Green Call Project', he collected some 30 old mobile phones for recycling.

Now, he is working on 'Neighbourhood Recycling Project', where he distributes self-made pamphlets to people and aims to collect 500kg of paper waste by July 10.

"I made my pamphlet and it is approved by the EEG. The flier carries their logo too. The pamphlet has my contact details. So people can call me and I will collect paper waste and other things for recycling from them. I also distribute self-made bookmarks with eco-friendly messages. I have so far collected 350kg of paper waste," the schoolboy said.

Earlier this year, he had started his own campaign - 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Save Earth' - to create awareness about the importance of recycling and saving the environment.

"I posted video messages on various community pages on Facebook. I circulated messages on various WhatsApp groups on significance of dropping plastic cans and paper in recycle bins. We can use coconut shell as plant pots. Also we need to plant trees and have distributed seeds to friends and family members," he said.

'Say no to plastic'

During the summer vacation, the eco-warrior plans to engage in campaign against use of plastic bags. "I am making paper bags and will distribute them to baqala shops. My mother is helping me with cloth bags made out of tailor scraps and I will give them to people as substitute for plastic bags. This will also reduce landfill space as tailor scrap makes big chunk of garbage," Siddarth said, adding that his mother was now giving him stitching classes.

He is also learning Hindustani classical music and has completed Grade 3 keyboard certification from Trinity College London. "I also like to sing, play tabla, take part in elocution and quiz competitions."

It was actually Siddarth's mother Bharathi Pai who is the leading light behind such initiatives.

"Children are always glued to TV or spend time with their phones and video games. In an effort to make good use of spare time, I suggested him such initiatives. He now goes to park and tell adults and children about the importance of recycling. Also there are many programmes regularly being held in his school," Bharathi said.

Siddarth added that his father Ganesh Pai is also very supportive. "He is my backbone. Also, my school has always encouraged all my activities. I am also grateful to my neighbours and family friends who have always responded positively to all my cause."

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

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