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Posted at: Jun 15, 2019, 7:48 AM; last updated: Jun 15, 2019, 7:48 AM (IST)

Innovating ideas from dustbin to save world

City-based student is an aspiring doctor, environmentalist
Innovating ideas from dustbin to save world
Bhavya Pahwa shows his awards. Photo: Sunil kumar

Neha Saini

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 14

At the age of 18, he has won an international award for best painting on climate change in ICICI’s Global Art contest for a painting on water pollution. He was the finalist from Asia in the Google Global Science Fair for creating biodegradable plastic. Besides, he has over a dozen other awards shining bright on his award shelf. Despite all his academic and other achievements, Bhavya Pahwa, a NEET topper from the city, is an innovator who has managed to create bio-plastic and paper from kitchen waste.

“I consider my dustbin as my best friend. While pursuing Class X, I read it in a science journal that starch from vegetables can be used to create bio-plastic and paper. So, I strated working under the guidance of my teacher to see if I can create something out of potato,” shares the aspiring doctor, who is going to take admission to Safdarjung Medical College and Hospital in Delhi soon.

Bhavya, through extensive study of extracting cellulose and starch from banana peels and potato peels, successfully managed to create bio-plastic. “It definitely needs a lot of research to study chemical composition involved in the process. But I can say that an alternative source to carbon-base plastic can be made out of it.”

He also won the Google Global Science innovator prize for his project on bio-plastic and potato-paper. It took him several months to work on the project. “I used my school’s lab to work after school hours and my science teacher was my guide. The bio-plastic that I created from banana peel was stable for a few hours, but the paper I created from potato peels was usable.” He says that currently a group of professors in northeast are also working on a similar bio-plastic project.

The idea currently has taken a back seat due to his academic aspirations. Bhavya says that he is open to more such ideas. “I believe that the planet needs to be saved through consistent efforts to find alternates to carbon-based fuel and pollutants. We are the future for our civilisation and we need to play positive role in ensuring that it happens.”

Son of a surgeon father, Dr Rajkumar Pahwa, and a gynaecologist mother, Dr Sangeeta Pahwa, Bhavya’s other passions include painting and listening to Taylor Swift. “I am a huge fan of Taylor Swift. Her songs are a source of inspiration for me.” His favourite one includes the singer’s most candid song I Did Something Bad.

An aspiring medical researcher, Bhavya, wants to ultimately study about HIV AIDS and work to find a cure for the disease through genetics and biotechnology. “My interest is in the field of advanced biotechnology and my dream is to study at John Hopkins or Harvard,” he says. Well, working to change the world, one step at a time!

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