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£1m Eco-Prize Could go to Schoolgirl

14 year old steams (literally) towards £1m victory in Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize with her solar-powered ironing cart.

The youngest person in the competition is in the running to win a £1 million prize from Prince William, after inventing a solar-powered ironing cart to drastically cut pollution. Vinisha Umashankar has designed a cart that runs on five hours of sunshine and could transform a traditional trade in India.

There are currently around 10 million ironing carts in her country running on charcoal, which burn constantly throughout the day, causing lung disease, deforestation and high levels of pollution, reports The Telegraph.

After developing an interest in science when she received an encyclopedia for her fifth birthday, Vinisha is now a finalist in the Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize. She joins 14 others in the running for five £1 million prizes, and is already receiving advice on how to scale her invention to sell it at an affordable price in India, before exporting across Asia and Africa.

The Duke of Cambridge said: “Over half a century ago, President Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ programme united millions of people around the goal of reaching the moon. Inspired by this, The Earthshot Prize aims to mobilise collective action around our unique ability to innovate, problem solve and repair our planet."

The Earthshot Prize is a £50 million global environmental award designed to harness optimism and encourage progress in a "crucial decade" for the planet. Five £1m prizes will be awarded each year for the next 10 years. It has already been likened to a green Nobel prize and is expected to be seen as the Duke's career-defining project. Like his father, who championed environmental and conservation causes long before most people started to think seriously about it, Prince William is a passionate advocate for the environment.


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