Differently-Abled Man Who Cleaned Kerala Lake Gets International Award
N S Rajappan, paralysed below his knees, has been honoured by a top award in Taiwan for his commitment to cleanliness by way of collecting plastic waste from despite his disability
69-year-old N S Rajappan, paralysed below his knees, has been honoured by a top award in Taiwan for his commitment to cleanliness by way of collecting plastic waste from Kerala's scenic Vembanad Lake despite his disability.
He has been awarded The Supreme Master Ching Hai International’s World Protection Award which also comes with a $ 10,000 (approximately Rs 7,30,081) cash award and a citation.
Rajappan who crawls with his hands makes a living by collecting plastic bottles and other garbage from the lake. He has been doing it for the past 17 years.
Rajappan’s work must be looked as a role model and by way of protecting the rivers, we are trying to save the earth itself, the citation states.
Rajappan’s story went viral earlier this year after photographer Nandu posted his pictures
on social media.
On January 14 this year, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) chief Erik Solheim too had shared a brief video on Rajappan on social media, along with a request that ‘we should make him famous’.
According to the media reports, Rajappan was afflicted with polio at the age of five and has been paralysed since. But he would venture out to the waterbodies in and around Kumarakom on a small country boat to collect plastic every day, early in the morning.
He mainly collects plastic bottles dumped in the water. The plastic thus collected is cleaned and dried before being sold to a local agency at ₹12 a kilogram.