Two siblings in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District have launched a project that both helps the environment and provides clean water to a school in Africa.
Trisha Bhanot, a sophomore at Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills, and Vivaan Bhanot, a sixth-grader at West Hollow Middle School in Melville, have been creating glass straws to reduce reliance on single-use plastics. They sell three for $40.
So far, the siblings have sold $1,500 worth of straws with the proceeds donated to provide clean water to a school in Kenya through a nonprofit called The Water Project.
They were inspired to pursue the project during their family's annual trip to India.
"We had to drink a purified version or bottled water, and it triggered questions in our head," Trisha said. "We started feeling bad that other people don't have the luxury of clean water."
The siblings make the straws at home using borosilicate glass, which their father, Vivek, taught them to cut, sand and torch. They spread the word about their efforts on social media and through their website: myglassstraw.com.
Trisha, 15, is also a member of her school's varsity swim team and Indian-American Society; Vivaan, 10, plays clarinet and is on the Team Suffolk Swim Club.