The dumping of plastic in water bodies has been known to cause devastating effects—from poisoning and killing numerous marine species, to reducing their habitats to hazards. However, a group of boys decided to turn this environmental hazard around and instead use it to save lives.
According to a report by The Better India, 11-year-old Rishikesh with his class VI friends Praveen, Naveenkumar, Karthi, and Guhan, all of whom hail from agricultural families are the young masterminds behind creating life jackets made from discarded plastic bottles. The students began researching on the science of floatation by experimenting with empty plastic bottles. Stitching together about two dozen such bottles, the model was tried and tested by Rishikesh, who knew how to swim and later on a friend who did not know how to swim. Both times, it worked. Rishikesh told EducationWorld the inspiration behind making these life jackets rooted from hearing troubling stories of poor fishermen around his village, that would tragically die at sea, because of their inability to afford safety gear. At zero cost, these plastic life jackets are a blessing to these fisherfolk.
The boys received recognition for their successful innovation when they sent it to the ‘I CAN Awards 2014’ organised by Design for Change – a not-for-profit organisation that challenges children to solve problems in their community. There the project won the ‘Boldest Idea’ award from amongst 1,992 stories submitted in 2014, bagging a cash prize of ₹50,000.
According to The Better India, after many such jackets were distributed to the local fishermen, Rishikesh and his friends are eager to have this idea implemented throughout the country. Currently, such ambitions have been stalled as the government supporters for this innovation have changed departments.
Feature Image Credit: The Better India