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India’s ‘Agri-Waste’ Recycling Project Wins Prince William’s Earthshot Environmental Prize

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
William Earthshot Environmental Prize
David Oyelowo (left) announces Takachar, from India, as the winner of the Clean Our Air award (Pic Credit- The Hindu)

Vidyut Mohan-led Indian company Takachar won the "Clean our Air" prize for its cheap technology innovative machine which converts crop residues into fertilizer (sellable bio-products) so that farmers do not burn the agricultural waste and cause air pollution.

On October 17, a Delhi-based entrepreneur’s agricultural waste recycling project was named among the winners of Prince William’s inaugural Earthshot Prize, dubbed the “Eco Oscars”, at a gala ceremony in London, United Kingdom.

This prize was created by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and it was among five worldwide winners of the prize to reward those people trying to save our planet.

About Takachar:

Takachar was named a winner for its innovative technology which decreases the emissions of smoke by up to 98%, focused on helping improve the quality of air that currently decreases the population’s life expectancy by up to 5 years.

“Takachar has manufactured a small-scale, cheap, portable technology that attaches to tractors in remote farms. The machine transforms crop residues into sellable bio-products like fuel and fertilizer,” the Earthshot Prize notes in reference to the winning project. If further scaled, it could cut about a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, seen as a win-win situation for India’s farmers and our fight against climate change at large.

Apart from this, we produce about $120 billion of agricultural waste every year, globally. Farmers are unable to sell it- they often burn, with catastrophic consequences for human health and the environment. The burning of crop residues makes air polluted that in some areas has reduced the expectancy of life by a decade.

The selected 5 winners were connected to the eco-friendly awards ceremony by global broadcast, and no celebrities flew to London to attend the ceremony, no plastic was used to build the stage.

The inaugural winners were chosen from 5 different categories and were chosen from a shortlist of 15 by judges including broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, actress Cate Blanchett, and singer Shakira.

Costa Rica was declared as the winner in the “protect and restore nature” category for a scheme paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems that have led to a revival of the rainforest.

A project run by two friends who are growing coral in the Bahamas designed to protect & restore the world’s dying coral reefs won the prize in the “revive our oceans” category. 

The London Awards ceremony:

Each winner was awarded a one-of-a-kind prize medal, created by award-winning Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma, motivated by the iconic ‘Earthrise’ photo taken of the earth from space from the Apollo 8 mission in 1968 and manufactured from recycled materials.

All 15 finalists will receive support from the Earthshot Prize Global Alliance, a network of philanthropies, NGOs, and private sector businesses around the world that will assist scale their solutions.

The London awards ceremony concluded by declaring the Earthshot Prize will travel to the U.S. in 2022, with nominations for the 2022 prize to open in January.

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