With seven billion people on planet Earth, conserving natural resources is the need of the hour. There are several types of resource depletion, one of them being – deforestation or excessive cutting of trees for the manufacture of paper. Surprisingly the one to understand the gravity of the situation and further act upon it is none other than Manya Harsha, a 10-year old environment activist and sustainability influencer from Bengaluru. She recycles daily kitchen waste into handmade vegetable paper. “Instead of chopping trees for paper, let’s recycle the kitchen waste to eco-friendly vegetable paper. Let’s all together join hands to restore our earth,” says Manya.

Manya Harsha has successfully used her time during lockdown to recycle kitchen waste into eco-friendly paper. This 6th grader from Vibgyor High BTM Bangalore has also participated in other environment-friendly programs such as – Restore Our Earth Campaign, Strike against Plastic Campaign, and Cleanup Drive at Markhonalli Dam & Varca beach on World Water Day 2021. In August 2019, Manya Harsha created a Vajra World Record as the Youngest poet of India with her book “Nature our future”. She is also the author of five Nature-themed books. She received The Water Heroes award in 2020 by the Ministry of JAL Shakthi and Warriors of Change Award, 2021. Further, Manya was recognized and lauded for her efforts by UN-Water on their official Facebook page.

Image credits: Twitter

Small Beginnings

Born and brought up in Bangalore, I see the beautiful Garden city slowly turned down by heaps of garbage dumped on the roadside and how the quantity of waste is increasing every passing day has been a matter of huge concern. This scenario always had made me think for a permanent solution as to how the flower and plant waste can be utilized in an Eco-friendly manner,” says Manya. 

Here was how it began. Instead of turning everyday vegetable waste into compost, Manya thought – Why not recycle it to create handmade paper? That could save millions of trees. A young Manya added, “8 trees are sacrificed for 1000 pounds of paper! Now with around 8-10 onion peels, I can make 2-3 A4 size papers. A 1/2 kg of Peas husk can make 3 A4 size sheets! 2 -3 baby corn husk makes around 2 A4 size sheets! These colorful vegetable papers are just like any other handmade paper. You can write, draw, paint, fold and create art out of it.”

Thus her experiment began – Everyday kitchen waste to Each Paper a day! In no time, this 10-year-old was successfully making onion paper, peas paper, corn paper, and more vegetable paper. 

A Lesson for India

Manya born on June 17, 2010, is the youngest author and youngest environmentalist. This bright and not-so-big girl is showing India how to reduce kitchen waste. It is time someone like the National Green Tribunal (NGT) committee who has helped cities like Mysuru, Tumkuru, Hubballi-Dharwad, and Mangaluru handle waste management, takes notice of Manya’s work. Manya’s idea needs serious consideration. With an average of 300 grams of vegetable waste per day per household, imagine how much two billion Indians can contribute. India’s forests would continue to remain green and dense with no need to cut down any more trees for paper. We need eco-warriors like Manya and young entrepreneurs to lead the way forward. Manya Harsha has made the right choice – now it is our turn!

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