[Monday Motivation] This 10-year old is creating awareness about plastic pollution among children through her podcasts
Apart from running a podcast, Siyona Vikram spearheads an initiative called the ‘Little WISE club’ for children, which aims to create a world without plastics and plastic toys.
Monday March 28, 2022,
4 min Read
Ten-year-old Siyona Vikram is more assertive of her mission than her age. A podcaster, speaker, and social entrepreneur, Siyona was born and brought up in the UK for the first eight years of her life. She now lives in Bengaluru and studies at Jain Heritage School (JHS), Hebbal.
When Siyona was 7, she discovered podcasts and loved the idea. She researched and listened to many children's podcasts, but also realised there were almost no podcasts for children that would inform them about current global events and educate them further on the limited information available in their textbooks.
Hence, she decided to start her own podcast -- Little Mind Chats -- to do what she’s passionate about. The punchline of her podcast is ‘Minds are little, not our thoughts’.
“I wanted to connect children with the world by using reality-based information through my podcast. I want to educate children on different topics, do interviews with guests, and industry experts. In the end, all I wanted was to give them happy and useful thoughts,” says Siyona.
During one of the podcasts, she learnt about how turtles are dying in the ocean due to plastic pollution. And this led to the genesis of Little WISE club in late 2020. Through her club, Siyona is now aiming to create a world without plastics, plastic toys, or fossil fuels.
Running the podcast
Siyona uses her podcast to engage with experts in different fields to answer the questions she has on related topics and hence benefit other children out of her conversations with these experts.
Till now she claims to have aired over 104 episodes of her podcasts, which goes out every Saturday and on special days.
She has also won the ‘Golden Crane Podcast Award’ and a final slate nominee for the most prestigious award in podcasting, ‘Podcast Awards 2021’.
Turning into a social entrepreneur
After learning about turtles dying in the ocean due to plastic pollution during one of the podcast episodes, Siyona was provoked to do something about it.
With assistance from her family and school, she started Little WISE club, where WISE stands for Warriors Inspiring Sustainable Earth.
“About 90 percent of the toys today are made out of plastic. Of all the plastics produced, about 50 percent of them were produced in the last 15 years. Plastic is the only industry that is driven by production and not demand,” says Siyona.
She intends to inspire kids world over to use toys made of sustainable and biodegradable materials.
“The reason I chose to focus on plastic toys over other plastic products is because the others can be somehow recycled. There are not many means of recycling plastic toys at present. Parents also aren't aware of how they could dispose of these toys,” adds Siyona.
Through her club, Siyona raises awareness about the health hazards of plastic toys on children and their effects on our environment once discarded. She is doing this through her podcasts, by sticking posters throughout the city, and by reaching out to people by herself.
She also collects used plastic toys from children and does her best to stop them from entering landfills and water sources. At present, there are collection boxes placed in the city, mainly in her school, Hub Bengaluru (a community space where Siyona is a part of), and near Vividus hospital.
Once they dispose the toys, they can sign up through the Little WISE club website and become an ‘eco-warrior’. For every toy they dispose of, they get points, which they can be redeemed in stores such as Brown Living and Rescript later. These stores are known for the sale of sustainable products.
The collected toys are then transported to a plant about 30 kms from Bengaluru, which makes agricultural pipes out of them.
According to Siyona, her initiative has collected about 200 kgs of plastic so far from all the collection boxes, and almost 150 eco warriors have signed up.
Siyona now wishes to expand her club and create more eco-warriors.
Edited by Megha Reddy