An 18-year-old boy from India has been named by the United Nations to the 2020 class of young leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals. Udit Singhal is among 17 named for the highest profile recognition of youngsters who are leading efforts to combat the world’s most pressing issues.
Singhal is the founder of Glass2Sand, a zero-waste ecosystem that addresses the growing menace of glass waste in Delhi, India.
“As a Young Leader for the SDGs, I will be an active agent of change. I hope to be able to encourage communities to embrace a better civic sense to create sustainable living spaces, like when mountain-high landfills are detonated,” Singhal said in the statement.
Singhal’s initiative aims to prevent empty glass bottles from filling up landfills where they will not decompose for millions of years. Instead they crush the bottles into commercially valuable sand.
The Young Leaders for the SDGs initiative is organised on a biennial basis by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
The young leaders – between the ages of 18 and 29 years old – represent the diverse voices of young people from every region of the world. The 2020 Class of 17 Young Leaders includes representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Ireland, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Turkey, Uganda and the United States.
A student of The British School in New Delhi, Singhal started the Glass2Sand project in 2018 because waste collectors found collection of bottles to be unviable due to a drop in demand, the requirement of a large storage space and high transport costs.
The Glass2Sand website claims that Singhal’s initiative has stopped over 8,000 bottles from being dumped in landfills and produced 4,815 kilograms of high-grade silica sand so far.