Meet Anchal – All Around Changemaker
Allow me to introduce myself, I am Anchal, a 16-year-old high schooler who is looking to save the future of the world one step at a time. Now, maybe, as you sit (or stand) reading this, you are thinking, “Wow, great introduction Anchal, I just know your age and that you are in high school”, well hold on to your hats, because you are about to hear a lot about me and my adventures in the world of plastic pollution.
I began working with Algalita at age 7. Now, my adventure started small and just with my “Green Team” Club at my five hundred student school. I was invited to go along with my big sister and other students to watch a documentary, by Marcus Eriksen, about Microplastics. At the time, I did not realize that the bird, in the documentary, whose stomach was filled with plastic would spark a passion. My small 7-year-old brain was eager to indulge. Immediately, upon watching the movie, I felt a deep urge to change one of my plastic habits, so, I took my first step: I convinced my soccer team to switch from the single-use beverage bottles we used to a BRIGHT ORANGE gallon water jug, that we could use to refill our reusable water bottles. At this point, you may be thinking, “Wow, great job, I have met people who are changing policies at age 7”, fret not young one, every story has a unique beginning and each story has a place in this massive crisis that we are collectively fighting.
Flashforward to Anchal at age 11, I have been up to the average 11-year-old stuff, worrying about Silly Bands, Trivia Crack, Subway Surfers, and the latest about Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber’s latest breakup and makeup. But, I am also working with my school catering company to focus on the reduction of plastic pollution at school. My advocacy earned me funds from the catering company itself and my local water district for the hydration stations that I wanted to put in for students to help with the elimination of plastic products on campus. I later addressed the entire school on Earth Day on the topic of environmental responsibility and advocated for more sustainable campus culture. With great success, my school now saves on average 25,000 reusable water bottles a year.
And now, I am 16 and have continued working with Algalita as one of its five Youth Council Members. I am involved in running and organizing the annual international youth summit Algalita hosts to help students find solutions to ocean plastic pollution. I am a peer advisor and help with the operations of the summit, which means that I work with international students of all ages and backgrounds to develop their projects and become a point of contact for them at the organization. I helped to develop and was the president of the Algalita Youth Board, a group of talented and hardworking students from all over Southern California dedicated to the plastic pollution initiatives, where we worked to develop curriculums advocating for plastic smart solutions and experiments based on the Next Generation Science Standards on the topic of plastics and their ability to pollute. I have experience in advocating for legislation related to plastic pollution, and I am currently working with 2 state legislatures to take action. I have lobbied state senators and worked to create a movement at the legislative level. I also recently began collaborating with ‘Sea of No Plastic’ – a sister organization of Algalita.
My adventure started small and became bigger with time. Write your own story and discover what gives you the urge to inspire others. I have crazy plans ahead of me and many projects I am working on. I hope you are as excited as I am to work on your project and help change the world – one person at a time. No action is too small! Good luck to you and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you in the future.
With you for a world without plastic pollution,