Among Shahid ul Islam’s ambitious plans are to build eco-friendly ‘Made in Kashmir’ cars and inspire other young innovators in the region to make a difference.
We often read in books or are told by teachers in school that recycling is one important way to contribute to society. Very few take the challenge head-on to make good use of waste materials and give back to the community. However, a young eco-innovator from Kashmir, Shahid ul Islam, is one such example.
Shahid, 16, from the Thokarpora area in the Pulwama district of southern Kashmir, makes prototype vehicles from scrap and creates awareness on reusing waste material. His ultimate motive is to see Kashmir pollution-free by introducing an eco-friendly car as a “Made in Kashmir'' product.
“I am following my childhood dream. It gives me immense satisfaction that I am thinking about contributing a bit toward society,” said Shahid, who has left everyone enamoured with his herculean recycling efforts.
Determined to jump leaps and bounds, he believes being eco-friendly and making use of waste material will prove beneficial in saving the environment. And if nothing is done in time, it could negatively impact future generations.
“We have a lot in Kashmir to look at – and I want waste material to be recycled – be it for home decorations or the outdoors. I myself [saved] school fares, that too, by going school on foot – to collect waste material for production. Also, I had to buy the stuff,” said Shahid, who has turned a room in his house into a mini-workshop.
Despite undergoing surgery, Shahid has set his sights on his dream to prepare a pollution-free vehicle for the region and beyond, and faced several challenges in the process.
And his father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, has decided to back his son's initiative in whatever capacity possible.
“I came to know late about his inventions when I went to his room, but I am proud of his work and want him to continue living his dream,” Rashid stated.
Fond of vehicle-making, Shahid seized opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic to focus on preparing a truck apart from a Mahindra Thar, a Jeep or a Casper.
“I am going to increase my range of products, by the time I get a host of things [batteries and motors] to prepare the vehicles,” Shahid quipped.
Showcasing his products at home, Shahid has used electronic waste apart from chips, rim, wood, plastic sheets and other non-biodegradable products to create his masterpieces.
“Whatever we use and then throw away comes back to haunt us, but there is an approach to neutralise the threat by reusing such material,” he stated.
Shahid not only wants other innovators to keep recycling waste, but requests the Kashmir government to lend a helping hand to innovators like him to make the best possible use of discarded items and minimise the threat to the environment.
“I see a great potential here. If the youth is nursed well, we could see a lot of opportunities banging [at] the doors by making good use of inventions,” he asserted.
To further tackle the frequent power cuts during the winter seasons in Kashmir, Shahid wants to invent a solar mobile charger that will cater to the demand of smartphone users.
On a recycle and reuse mission, Shahid is encouraging others to set an example in their respective domains.
Want to reinvent anything out of scrap – from a sports car to water pumps or load carriers? Shahid is your boy.
“Let’s set focus on inventions, let’s pledge by recycling things in our day-to-day life to continue this mission and make the world a better place,” he signed off.