Aditya Mukarji

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ADITYA MUKARJI
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Born26 December 2003
New Delhi, India
NationalityIndian
EducationUniversity of Toronto - Trinity College HBA Economics (Major), International Relations (Major) and Environmental Economics (Minor), Batch of 2026 The Shri Ram School Aravali Batch of 2022
OccupationYouth Environmentalist
Years active2018-present
OrganizationChintan Environmental Research and Action Group

UNDP UNEP

Earth Day Network
Known forEnvironmental Activism and removing plastic straws from hospitality sector
MovementClimate Action Movement
Parent(s)Deepak Mukarji and Anupama Mukarji
RelativesSatya Nand Mukarji (Great-Grandfather)

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur (Grandaunt) N K Mukarji ICS (Granduncle)

Raja Sir Maharaj Singh (Granduncle)
FamilyMukarji's of St. Stephen's College Delhi
AwardsThe Diana Award 2021

Youth Activist By Plastic Free Awards UK & Surfers against Sewage 2021 AatmaNirbhar Champion Award 2020 by Govt Of India, Eco-Hero Award 2020 (Action for Nature UK), Earth Day Network Rising Star (by Earth day Network Asia), 2020 The Innovator of the Year Award 2018, 2021 Identified as one of the 7 youth environmentalists to watch out for apart from Greta Thunberg by the BBC.

Plastic Tide Turner Champion and Brand Ambassador UNEP

Aditya Mukarji (Born 26th December 2003) is an Indian Environmental movement who is known for fighting against single use plastic pollution, for the promotion of waste management, planting and nurturing of urban mini forests as well as public advocacy.[1][2]

Aditya was born to Deepak Mukarji and Anu Mukarji in New Delhi. His father retired as Director and Head of Corporate Affairs Shell India and serves as Member of Governing Body of St. Stephen's College, Delhi. Aditya finished is ISC from The Shri Ram School Aravali campus in 2022. He is currently pursuing a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics (Major), International Relations (Major) and Environmental Economics (Minor) at Trinity College, Toronto - University of Toronto as a President's Scholar of Excellence in the faculty of Arts and Science and a University of Toronto International Scholar of Excellence in the faculty of Arts and Science. His ultimate goal is to influence global policy on sustainable development with a focus on people planet and economics.

Climate Action Activities

The Start

In 2018 at the age of 14 while scrolling through social media Aditya found a video of a plastic straw being extracted from a turtle’s nose. The crying and bleeding of the turtle really impacted him. He began to think about how careless actions of humans have a disastrous impact on other life form.[3] He read up on the problem of single-use plastic consumption was shocked to see the how oceans are choking and plastic is thrown around everywhere. He knew he had to do something and it had to start with the plastic straws. Plastic straws can never get sorted, never be recycled and hence reach the landfills and oceans; polluting our environment. He started by talking to his mentor Ms. Bharati Chaturvedi of Chintan who told him about the struggles faced by waste pickers in the landfills. He shared his idea of removing single use plastics from the hospitality industry with her and so in March 2018, he started his campaign. [4]

Main Challenge Addressed

The main challenge he has been addressing is the problem of plastic pollution with emphasis on single-use plastic pollution, lack of proper waste management and lack of public awareness. These are critical issues that continue to plague India and the world and he wanted to make a difference through his campaign to leave the world a little better than he found it. India suffers from a major breakdown of waste management system which has led to open disposal of mixed waste in landfills, water bodies and roads. This causes pollution of land, water, underground water supply, spread of vector borne, aerial and water borne diseases along with destruction of natural habitats and death of animals who eat the waste. Single use plastic is a major component of waste generated and it is not always easy to segregate and recycle. The hospitality industry is the bulk generators of single use plastics.[5]

The challenge of single-use plastic pollution in the hospitality industry was not addressed effectively at the time Aditya started his campaign. People were tackling the problem of single-use plastics at an individual and government level but not at a corporate and organizational level. He was the first environmentalist in India to influence the hospitality industry on a large-scale to give up single-use plastic to become green.

Outcome

Change was waiting to happen. He just needed to be that catalyst. He connected the hospitality establishment to the manufacturers of alternatives. He has been able to remove over 26 million plastic straws and a few million other single-use plastic items on an annual basis in the past 4 years. [6]He has advised many corporates such as the JSW Grp on how to become green and sustainable. He has also worked alongside UNEP, UNICEF, UNDP, WWF, Earth Day Network amongst others. He has secured Letters of Intent and MoUs to recycle 33 tonnes of plastic waste per month while Interning at UNDP. His urban forestry campaign Forests of Hope is a global project to get youth around the world to grow ONE tree for the children of each sovereign member state of the UN in their local communities/countries. Thus, each Forest of Hope must comprise at least 195 trees that are native and/or fruit bearing for sustainability. The program Forests of Hope is an independent effort to spread a message of hope for tomorrow by the children of today. His campaign has planted over 45 such forests which have led to the planting and nurturing of 9000 trees. He has conducted workshops for over 1600 school children, regarding the ill effects of plastic pollution, and other climate change issues and has influenced close to 8000 people to lead sustainable lifestyles. He encourages youth to take up small simple acts towards a sustainable life. He is currently engaged in conducting awareness workshops about plastic pollution and waste segregation at a school, for children in rural India, with over 1100 students. He has raised Rs 2,238,200 or USD 29,898 to help address the problem of plastic pollution and promote social justice and waste management.

He helped bridge the gap to attain sustainability by encouraging establishments “Do Not Offer a Straw at all”. If a customer demands, only then offer an alternative eco-friendly straw. Most establishments were willing to change once shown the alternatives and on being explained the benefits. Many wanted to switch to eco-friendly alternatives but lacked information, which gap he helped bridge (and continue to do so) through research and then sharing details of suppliers (with whom he has no business or financial connection) that they can access if they commit to stop using single use plastics. Anecdotal evidence from some of the establishments he has worked with shows wasteful consumption of eco-friendly alternatives reduced between 55 and 60% as a consequence his intervention. He approached them with a simple three point pitch of “Problem, Solution and Economic Benefit” with the aim of not pointing blame at the polluters but looking at the way ahead through cooperation. He has been able inspire thousands of people directly and several thousand people indirectly to lead sustainable lives and has been able to inspire several youth around the world to take up climate action by taking small steps and starting with “Refuse If You Cannot Reuse to leave the world a little better than you found it” his motto.

Participation in International platforms as India Representative

  1. 19th-24th September 2019: Selected by the United Nations, as a fully sponsored Youth Delegate by UN Foundation,, to attend the United Nations|UN Youth Climate Action Summit 2019, in New York. Met with youth and leaders from all across the globe, sharing ideas on climate change and the need to act now.[7]
  2. 27th–30th September 2021: Represented India as a select invitee of the Government of Italy at the UN promoted Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition event in Milan, where he focused on social justice and financial flows for Sustainable Recovery. He contributed to the green jobs and financial protection of the working class in the transition period part of the final conference document.
  3. Before this international experience, He represented his school The Shri Ram School, Aravali and my state Haryana at the World Wildlife Fund|WWF Model Conference of Parties in May 2020.

Public Advocacy

In June 2018, He was invited by the UN to give a talk on my work, as part of the World Environment day discussions. He was the “Voice of the Youth” at the CII-FICCI seminar on 1st June 2018, at Vigyan Bhawan, to celebrate World Environment Day. In June 2018, He participated in a three-day campaign with NDMC and Chintan to get all restaurants in Khan Market, New Delhi ,to give up single use plastics. He continued after these first days to make efforts and brought along a few friends from school. Keeping them committed and going through the heat of summer with compensation other than the satisfaction of a job well done was his first lesson in leadership. It worked. Within four months, he had managed to convince and convert nearly 95% of the establishments in the market. He actively spread awareness amongst the general public, during the #plasticupvaas campaign in November-December 2018, against single use plastics and encouraging them to pledge to give up at least one item of single use from their lives. He did this through presentations at RWA, Cinema complexes, malls. He has also led various public awareness drives in residential societies and shopping malls against single-use plastics explaining the ills of an over-consumptive lifestyle and the negative impact on the environment while also offering them advice on alternatives they could switch to. During the Covid19 lockdown, he successfully completed the UN Plastic Tide Turner challenge, in which he influenced over 100 people to give up at least three single-use plastics and advised them on the the alternatives they could use, as a result of which he was invited as a panelist by WWF and UNEP National Youth Summit, In April 2020. The Covid19 crisis saw a surge in plastic pollution due to disposable protective masks, gloves etc. He was instrumental in spreading awareness, in local residential societies, on proper disposal of bio-medical waste, waste segregation at source and use of cloth masks by non-frontline people. He was part of a 3-person delegation to meet with the Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana|Deputy Chief Minister of my home state, Haryana, to give him an appeal to suspend the Waste to Energy plant and to focus on reducing waste to landfills.

In 2021, He was selected as one of the 17 young environment champions from India for its climate campaign called ‘We The Change.’[8] They are the face of the climate action movement and upon their shoulders lies the task of promotion of climate action in India as well as motivating other youth to take up climate action. He is engaged in public advocacy, youth engagement and promotion of climate action at the grassroot level.

Leadership Roles

  1. In June 2018, I led a team of volunteers in a three-day campaign with New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Chintan to get all restaurants in Khan Market, New Delhi, to give up single-use plastics. I continued for 6 months afterwards to make efforts. Keeping the team committed and going through the heat of summer with compensation other than the satisfaction of a job well done was my first lesson in leadership. Within 6 months, we had managed to convince and convert nearly 95% of the establishments in the market.
  2. For 2 years, I was an advisor to one of India’s biggest steel manufacturers, JSW Steel and helped make their plants and manufacturing townships single-use plastic-free.
  3. At the age of 15, I interned in the Plastic (Circular Economy) Unit of UNDP India under Prabhjot Sodhi MBE. I led a team of 3 interns and we secured LoIs to recycle 33 tonnes of dry waste versus our target of 20 tonnes.[9]
  4. I was appointed as the Youth Mentor for the National Geographic “A Million Yays for the Oceans, A Million Nays for Single-Use Plastics” project in partnership with Chintan, from August 2019-June 2020.
  5. Secretary of Environment Deputy Student Council 2020-21 and Head of Environment Student Council 2021-22. Led a team of 9 students, organised 3 intra-school sustainability programmes with a focus on responsible consumption and production to create long term environmental sensitivity conducted 6 Middle-School Climate Consciousness Activities and the 1st Environment Week with 5 mega activities for a student size of 1260 through grades 6-12. Through these, we have been able to reach approximately 6000 to lead sustainable lifestyles.

Fundraisers

He started and participated in raising funds for various social causes. Also participated as a volunteer to see that the funds were used for the target cause.

  1. July 2021: Free Vaccination for underprivileged. Raised funds and helped at the vaccination center to register and guide the people to get vaccinated against Covid19. Raised INR 113,800 to help vaccinate 143 people.
  2. December 2020: for my birthday, started fundraiser for ‘NO Child in Trash’, to help raise funds to educate children of waste pickers. Aim was also to promote social equality among sections who have dropped out of schools during the lockdown and have no access to online education, like most of us do. Total money raised = INR 1,32,500.[10]
  3. November 2020: Distribution of 3000 reusable washable cloth masks to the lesser privileged sections of our society, in order to reduce the number of single use masks that are being used and dumped into landfills and water bodies. Encouraged people around me to use such masks. In this initative, I also involved two other youth to help distribute these reusable masks to reduce plastic pollution. Aim being to influence them to also start giving back to society. Total money collected was = INR. 34,000[11]
  4. September 2020: Helped raise money to give sanitary pads to 135 rural women. Total Money raised= Rs. 33,700
  5. April-June 2020: Collected over Rs. 15,00,000 in cash and kind for the Urban-rural migration of migrant workers. Kind refers to water bottles, dry ration, sustenance kits which include water, milk, medicines, toiletries and sanitation material. Volunteered in the distribution too.
  6. September 2019: Helped raise money to provide mid-day meals to feed 47 children Total money raised = Rs. 51,600[12]
  7. 2019: Raised money to plant 9600 trees as part of the “Cauvery calling” campaign. Total money raised = Rs. 4,03,200[13]

Titles [14]

  1. Volunteer Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group
  2. Plastic Tide Turner Champion and Brand Ambassador
  3. Youth Ambassador Earth Day Network
  4. Intern UNDP India (2019-2020)
  5. Secretary of Environment The Shri Ram School Aravali (2020)
  6. Head of Environment The Shri Ram School Aravali (2020-2022)

Books and Awards

Books

  1. ‘United We are Unstoppable’ By Dr Akshat Rathi, the U.K. in 2020
  2. NCERT Book – My Big Book of Values vol 9 in 2020
  3. ‘How You Can Save The Planet’ by a UK publisher, released in Feb 2021.
  4. ‘The Most Important Comic Book On earth’ by Rewriting Extinction, October 2021.
  5. Japan Min of Education Textbook to be released in 2022

Awards [15]

  1. The Diana Award 2021[16]
  2. Activist By Plastic Free Awards UK & Surfers against Sewage 2021
  3. AatmaNirbhar Champion Award 2020 by Govt Of India,[17]
  4. Eco-Hero Award 2020 (Action for Nature UK),
  5. Earth Day Network Rising Star (by Earth day Network Asia), 2020
  6. The Innovator of the Year Award 2018, 2021
  7. Identified as one of the 7 youth environmentalists to watch out for apart from Greta Thunberg by the BBC News|BBC[18]
  8. Letter of Appreciation by Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change|MoEFCC Mr. C K Mishra IAS

References

  1. Video | Aditya Mukarji: The 14-year Old Swachh Warrior, retrieved 2022-06-29
  2. "aditya mukarji - Google Search". www.google.com. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  3. "This 17-year-old from Gurugram aims to reduce consumption of single-use plastic". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  4. News, Associated Press |; June 4th 2018, Politics | (2018-06-04). "In India, a trio of unlikely heroes wages war on plastic". Canada's National Observer. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  5. "Meet 5 Young Climate Change Activists Trying to Save Our Planet". News18. 2020-05-28. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  6. "letters of acknowledgement for initiative from few establishments.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  7. The UN Chronicle interviews youth environmental activist Aditya Mukarji., retrieved 2022-06-29
  8. Gandhi, Divya; Rao, Bindu Gopal (2021-11-05). "Meet the 18 young environmental activists chosen by the UN for its global climate change campaign". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  9. "Recommendation letter aditya mukarji.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  10. "No Child In Trash". fundraisers.giveindia.org. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  11. "Help Aditya And Yatharth Give Masks To The Economically Disadvantaged". milaap.org. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  12. Fueladream. "ADITYA MUKARJI'S CAMPAIGN TO PROVIDE MID-DAY MEALS TO 20 SCHOOL CHILDREN FOR A YEAR by The Akshaya Patra Foundation | Crowdfunding India". ADITYA MUKARJI'S CAMPAIGN TO PROVIDE MID-DAY MEALS TO 20 SCHOOL CHILDREN FOR A YEAR by The Akshaya Patra Foundation | Crowdfunding India. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  13. "No Child In Trash". fundraisers.giveindia.org. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  14. "Titles".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "Certificates merged file-31 certf. Aditya Mukarji- Univ appl.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  16. "Delhi's young minds win the prestigious Diana Award". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  17. "Aatmanirbharbharat". aatmanirbharbharat.mygov.in. Retrieved 2022-06-29.
  18. "Climate change: 7 young climate activists from around the world - CBBC Newsround". Retrieved 2022-06-29.

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