By Ashley Williams
It’s poisonous, it’s in your yard, and you don’t even know it. Lead is an invisible toxic menace-- but the good news is, it can be cleaned up. Sixteen-year-old Asa Needle has helped de-lead over 40 yards in his neighborhood. For his contributions to the environmental health of his community, the Brower Youth Awards commended his work at a ceremony in San Francisco this week.
Needle, from Worcester, Massachusetts, got involved in lead-removal in 2009 at the age of 13. That’s when he first joined the Toxic Soil Busters, a group of 10 youth-advocates whose mission and (paid) job is to inform their community about lead contamination. In three short years, Needle became the leader of this group.
Needle hasn’t announced how will spend his $3,000 prize, but it’s likely that it will go towards empowering the young voices in his town to be strong environmental advocates. In a video by the Toxic Soil Busters, a young Buster raps, “TSB is a co-op/ we tryin’ to make it official/ Not just trying to get gwap/ it’s about the environmental.”