Seeing an Indian girl ironing has strong sexist implications in the West, but curiously in India ironing clothes is basically a men’s profession. And also highly polluting.
In the First World, ironing clothes is not a particularly aggressive activity with the environment. The irons run on electricity, and there is one in every house. The dangerous thing here are the discussions to decide whose turn to iron …
But in poor regions of India, the concept of ironing clothes is very different. And a 14-year-old girl named Vinisha Umashankar has decided to fix what the elders have not done for decades.
There are 10 million ironing carts in India . These are carts with wheels pulled by animals or bicycles where their owners, mainly men, iron clothes in the middle of the street to anyone who asks for it.
In many regions of India an iron is too expensive a luxury, so they wait for the iron cart to arrive to iron their laundry for a minimal amount of money: The problem with these services is that they use plates that work with charcoal.
Each trolley consumes about 5 kilograms of charcoal per day to heat the iron, so the 10 million ironing trolleys consume 50 million kilograms of highly polluting charcoal per day, which implies cutting dozens of thousands of trees daily.
At 14, Vinisha Umashankar realized the problem. And decided to do something about it. As he tells Reuters : ” I calculated the enormous amount of charcoal that is being used, the pollution that generates and worsens climate change, damages Mother Earth and human health.
I wanted to create a renewable resource to replace charcoal .”So every day for six months, after leaving school, Vinisha spent some time designing a solar ironing cart, to replace coal.
And he got it. He devised a system of solar panels that are placed on the car , to heat the iron. With five hours of exposure to the sun, something quite easy to achieve in India, you get six hours of ironing. In addition, the iron of the car can also be connected to the electric current, or to a battery.
The invention impressed the Indian Department of Science and Technology, which has patented it in the girl’s name. In addition Vinisha Umashankar has won the Swedish Award Climate Prize in the junior category, equipped with a reward of 10,000 euros.
The jury highlighted: ” With intelligent design and a strong understanding of the problem of charcoal as an air pollutant, Vinisha has succeeded in combining science, innovation and technology to design the solar powered ironing cart.
If implemented on a large scale, This is an invention that can have a significant positive impact on India’s air quality and people’s health, while reducing unsustainable use of wood.
The jury is impressed and sees a young scientist and entrepreneur with a great passion for the environment, which can bring multiple benefits to both societies and our planet “.
It seems that even children realize that they are the ones who are going to have to fix the innumerable disasters that exist in the world, taking into account the demonstrated incompetence of adults …