14-year old Vinisha Umashankar is creating BIG change in the fight against air pollution and climate change! Let’s find out about the awesome invention that earned her a place in the Earthshot prize finals…

What’s the problem?

Each day in India, around 10 million ironing vendors take to the roadside, pressing clothes from their carts and burning up to five million kilograms of charcoal in the process.


Ironing vendors use a metal iron kept warm by hot charcoal to smooth clothes against the flat surface of their cart, which is like a giant ironing board! Customers wait while the clothes are pressed, and pay for the service.

In Vinisha’s hometown of Tiruvannamalai, these carts are everywhere! One day, on her way home from school, Vinisha noticed an ironing vendor dumping used charcoal in a bin. ‘Surely that can’t be good for the city?’, she thought.

Curious, Vinisha decided to do some research. She found that people working at ironing carts often become ill with lung disease, as the charcoal polluted the air around them. Plus, huge numbers of trees are cut down to make the charcoal, so using it contributes to deforestation, too.

Having learned this startling information, Vinisha decided to do something to help. Using all her science knowledge, she started inventing

How is Vinisha helping?

After lots of hard work, Vinisha created a solar-powered ironing cart, fuelled by clean energy from the sun! Her ingenious iron can work for six hours after just five hours’ charge. And guess what? It’s pollution-free! That makes it more environmentally-friendly, and safer for vendors, too. Yay!

Vinisha is hoping to manufacture her cart in India, and sell it at an affordable price, so that vendors can easily make the switch from charcoal to solar power. Ideally, she’d also love to send her clever creation to other countries in Asia and Africa, to help their vendors make the change, too.

What an inspiring eco-hero, well done Vinisha!


Vinisha is a finalist for the ‘Clean Our Air’ category of Earthshot prize, a global environmental award. Read all about the award, and other finalists, on their website: Earthshot Prize 2021.

Image credits: The EarthShot Prize.

What would you design to help save the planet? Let us know in the comments below!




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  • Nabil

    Love it

  • Matilda

    if this works then good job to her. I want to help stop pollution so I litter pick every day. but I think she did a great job and that seems like a lot of hard work!!! :)

  • that is amazing I want to be like that one day and save the planet go her!! I litter pick every day so I think I'm helping to!!!

  • So cool what you did

    great job!!!!

  • IGongora-Tuncer

    Whoa she is soo brave maybe I will do that too!

  • PlanetPerson

    Wow. We have got some real game changers! One day I wanna change the world as well!

  • I am an indian too ... great job !

  • IcyFresh

    Vinisha Did A Good Job

  • Ruth

    Well done Vinisha!

  • GracieH

    That is amazing Vinisha! Keep working hard inventing and saving the planet!

  • KayKayKoala

    Amazing work Vinisha!

  • Sof

    Awesome work!

  • Ollie

    it’s an amazing idea keep up the good work vinisha

  • Max


  • Bobby

    This was a good artical thank you for making it. It is a great change for our planet earth. Let's spread the word.

  • go vinisha!

  • Great

  • Say

    Love this^ ^ :)

  • Ash


  • good job

  • sAI

    Lovely Vinisha! I will also help to save the planet!

  • Afrah

    I love this

  • masyn


  • ecofriendly


  • good job!

  • Funky little thing

    I think this is really important to take action about what is happening to the inviorment

  • keiarny

    Greta is one little girl who knows how to do a story of Greta and the Giants I'm lean about it in school at Batemans bay public school in 4

  • Vidyut

    This is awesome!

  • well done !

  • Bhagyaveer

    Your Love for Mother Earth is Amazing.. as your actions to save her. Mind-blowing!

  • Vinisha Umashankar

    Thank you all for the kind and supportive words! I am inspired to go further! Keep supporting ....

  • hurray!:)

  • Yumi

    Wow great job!

  • Charlotte


  • Sally


  • Good luckkkk

  • Olive

    She must've worked really hard!!!

  • Fay P

    Vinisha's vision is an inspiration to young and old. Seeing a problem is one thing, sticking with it to create a solution is another. Hats off to her. It gives me faith that the world is in good hands with next gen care for environment.

  • Congrats Vinisha!

  • yay

  • Sofia

    Thumps up Vinisha! You will win the Earthshot Prize for sure!

  • NatGeoKidsFan

    This invention is so cool! It must have taken a lot of time and a lot of hard work. I really enjoy reading this and every day on NatGeoKid website it inspires me even more to love and care for the planet|!

  • ikiasuka

    go india

  • Afrah

    Wow I would love to stop pollution

  • GracieH

    that is really cool!

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