Ankit Agarwal


Regional Finalist, Asia Pacific
Ankit Agarwal's Bio
  • 28 years
  • India
Helpusgreen® - Preserving the River Ganges through up-cycling of temple waste
Summary of Big Idea: 

Helpusgreen® has pioneered the concept of ‘flowercycling®’, which aims to prevent the Ganges river from becoming a religious sewer by up-cycling the critical temple waste (16% of total river pollution). The floral waste that emerges from temples and mosques in Uttar Pradesh, India, is collected by self-help groups of, predominantly female, manual scavengers who, in turn, hand-craft and produce patented organic fertilisers, natural-incenses and biodegradable packaging materials. Since the Ganges River is considered sacred and holy, its cleaning will not only provide predictable and disease-free livelihoods to manual scavengers, but also a life of dignity, respect and social acceptance. It is worth noting that India’s 1.6 million manual scavengers collect human excreta from dry latrines and sewers on a daily basis (FSG 2016), and carry it away on their heads for disposal at the outskirts.  Helpusgreen® will revolutionize the way India handles the ‘million ton flower waste disposal' and brings hope to revive the lifeline of 420 million people: the Ganges River.



I have worked on sustainability projects across 26 countries and was selected amongst the 21 young leaders for extraordinary skills by the Asia Society. I was awarded the UNEP Centre for Environment Education 'Unsung Heroes' Award, and have won the Wharton India Economic Forum People's Choice Award 2017, The Global Spirit of Manufacturing Award for Social Impact, and the prestigious Abby Gold 2016. I am an Echoing Green and an Acumen fellow. I have worked at Symantec Corporation as an automation scientist, have published 17 research papers, and hold a patent.