Naisargik: Leading agricultural innovation in Bhubaneshwar
Naisargik leads two social ventures: Project Shakti & Yuva Utkal, Baisargik. This pair of initiatives aim to standardize innovative agricultural practices to mitigate health risks.
His changemaking journey started as a need to address the environmental and human hazards of India’s chromite ore mines in Sukinda Valley, which is in his home state. These mines operate without any environmental management plans, causing untreated water to contaminate waterways and riverbanks that can cause cancer as water used in agricultural production can carry carcinogens if untreated and unregulated.
His social ventures address the issue in a two-fold manner through scientific prevention and community awareness. Naisargik and his team apply an effective method to stop chromium, a toxin and carcinogen, from entering rice plants by adding a polymer matrix to the soil after ploughing.
Yuva Utkal is a storytelling initiative that sends volunteer storytellers to villages affected by pollution from the mines every 2 to 3 weeks. The volunteers engage with the community to raise awareness about the dangers of mining on locals and the environment.
To date, the project covers 6 villages to integrate the technology into their standard agricultural practices with the hopes of replicating the practice across the state through a government partnership and, eventually, the entire region.