Udit SinghalUdit Singhal

By Pramod Thomas

INDIAN student has won the highest profile recognition for young leaders by the UN for efforts to combat the world’s most pressing issues.

Udit Singhal, 18, student at University College, London, has been named to the 2020 class of 17 young leaders for the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the office of the secretary-general’s envoy on youth said in a statement on Friday(18).

Singhal is the founder of Glass2Sand, a zero-waste ecosystem, that addresses the growing menace of glass waste in India’s capital Delhi.

His firm converts empty glass into commercially valuable sand thus preventing them from being dumped into landfills.

Bangladesh-native Zahin Razeen, 22, who is a deep-tech architect was also included in the list.

On his website, Singhal describes himself as ‘social entrepreneur, tech enthusiast, artist and golfer’.

Singhal said: “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’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, the website says.

“My concern for sustainable development manifested itself in Glass2Sand, an environment-friendly zero-waste eco-system that I founded in 2018 to repurpose waste glass bottles.”

The young leaders, between 18 to 29 years, will come together as a community to support efforts to engage young people in the realisation of the SDGs both through strategic opportunities with the UN and through their existing initiatives, platforms and networks.

The group includes youth from Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and the US.

“As the UN marks its 75th anniversary during unprecedented times, the 2020 young leaders for the SDGs are a clear example of how young people are leading the way in shaping a more sustainable and inclusive future for all,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary-general’s envoy on youth.

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