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Delhi brothers forge a environmental future with 'One Step Greener' project

One Step Greener, a project that started out in Delhi as a personal attempt to segregate recyclables, has now also expanded to Gurugram.

Published: 21st November 2021 10:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2021 10:22 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi (left) presenting 17th International Children’s Peace Prize to Vihaan and Nav Agarwal (right)

Indian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi (left) presenting 17th International Children’s Peace Prize to Vihaan and Nav Agarwal (right). (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

Be it bird watching or while on wildlife safaris, South Delhi-based Vihaan Agarwal (17) and his brother Nav Agarwal (14) built a significant connection with nature at an early age. So, when they realised that the condition of the environment is downgrading year after year, they couldn't help but devise an initiative to do their bit.

One Step Greener, a project that started out in Delhi as a personal attempt to segregate recyclables, has now also expanded to Gurugram. For this initiative, the brothers have also been awarded the prestigious KidsRights International Children's Peace Prize this year.

In this interview, we speak to the siblings about their love for nature, this green initiative, and more. Excerpts...

On their interest in nature

Nav: It started because of our grandfather and father. Both of them were very interested [in nature]; they were the ones who started taking us to wildlife parks from a very young age. Those visits really instilled a love of nature in both of us.

On launching their project One Step Greener

Nav: Being amid nature was something we enjoyed. However, living in Delhi, we also saw the tremendous impact of pollution on humans. My brother [Vihaan] is asthmatic. As the air pollution got worse, so did his health. I would see him pay frequent visits to the nurses’ room. It was only getting worse and that’s also when we realised we want to do something.

Vihaan: Around the same time [in 2017], the Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi, collapsed. It killed two people, and later, it caught fire, thereby releasing toxic gases, which spiked the air pollution in the city.

When we saw this news on the television, we realised that there is some relation between waste and air pollution. After a little research, we learnt that 30 per cent of air pollution in Delhi is caused because of waste. This was very shocking to us and we decided to do something about the waste we produce.

On One Step Greener's waste-management vertical

Nav: Our process is simple. We educate people about the environment, teach them how to segregate waste, and offer pickups. When we commenced this project in 2018, we hired a truck and two waste pickers, gave them financial literacy, and helped them open a bank account. We began conducting home-to-home garbage pickups. We brought all the collected waste to our warehouse, where it was micro-segregated, and then sent it to the recyclers. It started as an individual initiative, we then expanded it to involve our neighbours and from then on, it kept expanding. Till now, we have reached about 1,400 homes, 14 colonies, and two cities. We serve schools and offices as well.

On winning the 17th annual KidsRights International Children's Peace Prize

Vihaan: It was a surreal moment for both of us and an honor to share the stage with Kailash [Satyarthi] ji, and other awardees, who we have always looked up to as inspirations. As per the policy, the cash prize that comes with the award will also help other children who are working on similar ventures, and I think that is great.



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