Indian entrepreneur named among ‘Young Champions of the Earth’ winners by UN environment agency

United Nations: A 29-year-old Indian entrepreneur is among the seven winners of the prestigious “Young Champions of the Earth” 2020 prize given by the UN environment agency to global change-makers using innovative ideas and ambitious action to help solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
Vidyut Mohan, an engineer, is the co-founder of “Takachar”, a social enterprise enabling farmers to prevent open burning of their waste farm residues and earn extra income by converting them into value-added chemicals like activated carbon on-site, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a statement on Tuesday.
I’ve always been passionate about energy access and creating income opportunities for poor communities, Mohan was quoted as saying in the statement.
(That) is at the heart of finding answers to the difficult question of balancing economic growth and climate change mitigation in developing countries, he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message that in the middle of a global pandemic, with societies struggling, economies stretched to their limits and an escalating biodiversity and climate crisis, we need to act boldly and urgently to repair our relationship with nature and take the path of sustainable development .
He said that the Young Champions of the Earth inspire and mobilise .
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said globally, young people are leading the way in calling for meaningful and immediate solutions to the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
We must listen. As we enter this decisive decade where we work to cut emissions and protect and restore ecosystems, UNEP Young Champions demonstrate that all of us can contribute, starting where we are with what we have. Every single act for nature counts, and we need the entire spectrum of humanity to share this global responsibility and this profound opportunity, Andersen said.
Takachar buys rice husks, straw and coconut shells from farmers and turns them into charcoal, saving the debris from the fires, which are also a driver of climate change. Since Takachar was launched in 2018, Mohan and its co-founder Kevin Kung have worked with about 4,500 farmers and processed 3,000 tonnes of crops, UNEP said.
Mark Radka, chief of the energy and climate branch at UNEP’s Economy Division, said the open burning of agricultural residues is a big source of air pollution in many parts of the world and Takachar’s innovative technology can help farmers turn what is currently thought of as waste into a valuable resource while helping clean up our environment.

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