Young eco-warrior fights for the planet in Dubai
Dubai - Sagarika Sriram's aim has been to spread the message of recycling, reusing and going green.
Sagarika Sriram is a 12-year-old young eco-warrior who is working to give a "green place to everybody in Dubai, then the continent and then the whole".
Raised with an awareness of the environment from her early years, Sagarika has a zero-waste policy adopted and implements it with compost pits, by growing vegetables and recycling water wherever possible.
At just age 10, she made some documentaries and videos about humans' harmful impact on the environment and took it upon her shoulders to raise awareness about such issues.
"Raising consciousness about the importance of protecting our environment is a vital part of my message," said Sagarika, who took these issues after hearing about oil spills, carcasses of whales being washed up on shores, turtles with plastic and rubbish inside them.
Seeing her passion, her parents got her to register her with the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), giving her the opportunity to mingle with like-minded individuals and also volunteer her time to a cause close to her heart. "In my project, I collected household paper waste and that opened my eyes about how I could raise awareness and support recycling. Going door-to-door and educating the community people on the importance of saving trees and the harmful impact of landfills, I collected over 1,040kg of waste paper in just four weeks!" Sagarika said.
Her aim has been to spread the message of recycling, reusing and going green.
As Sagarika continued with her green work, she was inspired to find and create a means of reaching a wider audience of children and young adults, to get them to get into volunteering. This was the birth of her eco start-up, Kids for a Better World, a website that offers tips on eco-friendly activities, as well as an incentive scheme devised by the youngster to encourage others to care for our environment.
Despite facing challenges such as organisational support for her activities and reaching larger audiences to create widespread engagement, Sagarika has reached over 10,000 people through the site and in person.
An inspiration to all, Sagarika said: "I have worked with over 300 children on a number of projects from Can DO, an aluminium can recycling drive, to desert clean ups." Teaching children the importance of our planet, Sagarika is the youngest member of her school's ecology committee, and is also an ambassador for Drop It Youth, a campaign that's aims to reduce single-use plastics in the UAE.
By teaching the youth the benefits of eco-conservation, Sagarika aims to inspire a new generation of environmentalists who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
"My work wouldn't have been possible without support from the right groups in the UAE. Firstly the credit goes to EEG for providing me with the impetus to carry on my passion and start my own initiative. Also it was my school, the Jumeirah College's eco committee, from where my environmental work started," Sagarika said.
Sagarika's motto is: "You may be only one person but you are still one person. You cannot do everything but you can do something." An idea that aligns perfectly with both the UAE and the Day for Dubai initiative.
With young volunteers like Sagarika making a difference to their communities, the world we call home may just have a chance.