Sainath Manikandan: The 11 year old environmentalist, innovator and green activist.
Sainath Manikandan recently reached out to us, telling us a bit about himself. We were amazed at what an 11 year old had already accomplished. This is his story:
Sainath Manikandan was only 10 when he realised that the world had a problem. He read about the effects of plastic pollution in the newspaper and watched the documentary "A Plastic Ocean".
“We live on a blue planet, with oceans and seas covering more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface. Oceans feed us, regulate our climate, and generate most of the oxygen we breathe. Oceans are facing threats as a result of human activity. Every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans.”
This sparked an idea and so, he came up with a solution to fix it. Last year, he spent over two months inventing the “M-Bot Cleaner” (the Marine Robot Cleaner) which collects floating wastes from water surfaces. Sainath presented his invention at Abu Dhabi’s Innovator 2018, Global Innovation Showcase and Abu Dhabi’s Sustainability Week and he hopes that authorities will build his robot on a larger scale to provide much needed protection for marine environments and species.
“I am working towards Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG-14) to conserve and use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development," said Sainath.
He’s also invented the Agribot, which reduces the labour of farmers. The robot plows the fields, sows seeds and covers the seeds in soil. The Agribot was presented at Innovator 2019 and the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture.
Alongside his amazing inventions, Sainath is also an environmentalist and a social activist.
Last year, Sainath started his PEPC Campaign (Papers, E-wastes, Plastics and Cans), to inform people about the importance of recycling. He collects recyclables in his community and school, encouraging individuals and organisations to reduce their carbon footprints through simple everyday choices.
He’s a Drop It Youth Ambassador (an organisation which urges the youth to rally against single-use plastic), giving presentations in his school to his junior students and in his extracurricular classes and asks members of the community to take a pledge on www.dropityouth.org to refuse single use plastic cutlery, water bottles etc.
He’s an active member of Emirates Environmental Group as well as writing articles for Young Times Magazine (Khaleej Times) about the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.
Sainath leads a busy life, and is constantly juggling school, his extracurricular activities and his environmental work. During a normal day, he attends school from 7 am to 4 pm, then goes to all his extracurricular activities such as karate, robotics and drawing as well as raising
environmental awareness by giving pep talks and presentations in the classes. He also collects recycling materials like plastic bottles, e-wastes, cans and papers from his neighbourhood.
Due to all of his amazing work, Sainath has won many prestigious awards, such as the Diana Award 2018, which is awarded to young people who have the power to change the world.
He was also declared as a 2019 Eco Hero by Action for Nature, which recognises eco-conscious youth aged 8-16 for their creative initiatives aimed at tackling the world’s environmental challenges.
Recently, he won the Change Maker Award for his environmental activities and was nominated for Young Achiever of the Year- Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards 2019,
He was also chosen to attend this year’s United Nations Youth Climate Summit, at the age of 11. The UN are immensely impressed by his commitment to addressing the climate crisis and his leadership in advancing solutions. He’s been included in the United Nation’s Environment Programme website. Imagine being 11 years old, not even having lost all of your baby teeth and having done enough work to impress the United Nations!
We all (hopefully) care about the environment, just like Sainath. Except he’s gone that extra step further, and has taken tremendous steps to help conserve our natural world. And let’s not forget he’s only 11 years old. Imagine what the world could be like if our politicians were as proactive as Sainath Manikandan, an amazing boy who’s already making such a difference in the world and his journey isn’t over yet. He’s going to achieve even more incredible things that will continue to change our world.
“The backbone of a nation is its youth. We have the power to bring about a change in our schools, homes and environment, and together we can create a wave of change.”