Dubai: Seeing used school books go to waste at the end of every academic year, a Dubai student created a free mobile app for donating old text books so others can use them.
Arush Nagpal, 14, launched ‘ReuseKitab’ in May, and the app has already registered over 490 book entries from more than 520 users. The app is a platform for users to exchange information about what school books they have and their contact details so others can coordinate with them to get the books.
Book sets or individual books from 120 schools in the UAE have been listed so far. Books can be searched individually or as a set, and they can also be searched by subject, title and author.
According a recent study, around 320 million books, including school books, are thrown away each year rather than getting recycled or reused, said Arush, who will join Year 10 at Dubai International Academy (DIA), Emirates Hills, in September.
“Every year I witness a huge number of books getting wasted as the donors don’t know what to do with these books. I observed some of the people using WhatsApp groups to sell or buy the books but I find this extremely inefficient. This led me to create an app where books can be donated,” he added.
Arush’s mother, Manju, who has a background in software development, said her son has a passion for coding. Last year, Arush had launched a ‘Timestable’ app for primary students to learn multiplication. Arush now wants to build applications using artificial intelligence and machine learning, she added.
To keep children reading in the summer break, Arush has releases a new version of the app that includes general (non-school) used books, such as fiction and other categories. He also aims to further develop the app to possibly include used school uniforms in a subsequent version.
Speaking about ReuseKitab, Hitesh Bhagat, head of DIA, Emirates Hills, said: “This is a great initiative. DIA always promotes such endeavors. Paper production causes deforestation, uses enormous amounts of energy and water, and contributes to air pollution and waste problems. We strongly recommend parents to use tools such as ReuseKitab and help reduce carbon emissions.”