The post that went viral, showing N S Rajappan, paralysed below the knee, clearing the plastic bottles from the Vembanad Lake, has been honoured.
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.
The 69-year-old Rajappan who crawls with his hands has been making a living by collecting plastic bottles and other garbage from the lake for the past 17 years.
Rajappan’s story went viral earlier this year drawing the attention of the entire world. 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’.
Rajappan, who was afflicted with polio at the age of five, collects plastic bottles dumped in the water, cleans and dries them before being sold in the local agency at Rs.12kg.