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Indian agricultural waste recycling project wins Prince William’s inaugural Earthshot Prize

The Delhi entrepreneurial organisation Takachar's innovation was recognised for its affordable technology to convert crop residues into sellable bio-products.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 18, 2021 10:14:36 am
David Oyelowo, left, announces Takachar of India, as the winner of the Clean Our Air award during the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

An India-based entrepreneurie’s technology that recycles agricultural waste to create fuel was named among the winners of Prince William’s inaugural Earthshot Prize that honours people trying to save the planet.

Dubbed as the “Eco Oscars,” the prizes have been created by the Duke of Cambridge and renowned British naturalist David Attenborough. Their aim is to provide assistance to and inspire innovative local solutions amid the growing climate crisis faced globally.

Vidyut Mohan led Takachar’s innovation was recognised for its affordable technology to convert crop residues into sellable bio-products. The technology reduced smoke emissions by 98 per cent, and calls for improving air quality. Vidyut Mohan from Takachar was awarded for this technology in the “clean our air” category.

“Globally, we generate USD 120 billion of agricultural waste every year. What farmers cannot sell, they often burn, with catastrophic consequences for human health and the environment. The burning of agricultural waste causes air pollution that in some areas has reduced life expectancy by a decade,” the ceremony noted in its reference to the award.

“This plays out every year in the fields surrounding New Delhi. Smoke from man-made infernos fills the air, with serious consequences for the health of locals,” it highlighted.

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge speak with guests as they attend the first ever Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday Oct. 17, 2021.

It was among five other worldwide winners of the prize. Each year for the next 10 years, the Earthshot will be awarding £1m each to five projects that are working to find solutions to the planet’s environmental problems.

The inaugural winners were shortlisted by 15 judges including singer Shakira. broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, actress Cate Blanchett.

Britain’s Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge speak with guests as they attend the first ever Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday Oct. 17, 2021.

To honour the awardees, a gala ceremony was held in London on Sunday evening, where actors Emma Thompson, Emma Watson and David Oyelowo joined Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William in handing out the awards.

“Time is running out. A decade doesn’t seem long enough, but humankind has an outstanding record of being able to solve the unsolvable,” Prince William said in a recorded message played at the ceremony.

British actress Emma Watson, center, and singer Ed Sheeran, right, attend the first ever Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021.

Other winners included a land-based coral farm in the Bahamas to restore dying coral reefs, a green hydrogen technology developed to transform how homes and buildings are powered.

Apart from these, the government of Costa Rica was honoured for a project that pays local citizens to restore natural ecosystems. The city of Milan was also awarded for its Food Waste Hubs program, which recovers food from supermarkets and restaurants and distributes it to those in need.

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