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India’s Plastic Bag Ban

words | Olivia Stickel

This year, more than 150 countries participated in Plastic Free July - run by a non-profit organization of the same name - to try to significantly cut down on plastic consumption. Still, over 300 tons of plastic is consumed globally each year, despite the growing taboo of using the substance. Numerous organizations have tried educating the public on the harmfulness of plastic and how to cut down on its waste, even creating effective challenges for the population such as Plastic Free July. However, India has a different idea on how to stop their growing plastic concern.


As of March 2018, 25 Indian states have approved a ban on polythene plastic bags, some being partial bans and some banning plastic bags completely. These bans were created in an effort to decrease their plastic consumption - a whopping 15,000 tons each day. The country also ranks 4th in the world on their mismanaged waste and 12th on their amount of plastic consumption each year (.60 million metric tons per year).

Yet the Indian government didn’t stop there. The Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation, the body that governs the city of Coimbatore, has started introducing bio-bags that are soluble in water and quick to decompose. Hoping these bio-bags will serve as a plastic alternative, big businesses in the Coimbatore area have teamed up with the municipality and switched over to the bio-bags to aid their integration into India’s huge market.

Further, the government has also issued a new law, the Plastic Waste Rules Amendment, which has imposed a fee on plastic bags. But India is not alone in their endeavor to cut down on plastic. In the U.S., cities in California, Texas, Washington, and New York take part in a similar fee-based legislation on plastic bags. As have many other parts of numerous countries, including Australia, England, Germany, Italy, and Ireland from as early as 2002.

While governments and companies are working to reduce plastic use, you can contribute too! Some simple ways to help in cutting down the world’s growing plastic issue are to use reusable bags when grocery shopping, switch to paper straws, and buy a reusable water bottle.


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Seventeen-year-old Veronica Reynoso is a scientist mostly known for creating light sources like Bioluminescent lamp, Piezoelectric Flashlight, and Ergonomic Bandaid all of which are powered by the heat of the hand. But among those close to her, she is known for her misfit robots and sometimes fire-causing failed prototypes. She does not give up, however; she has submitted projects to benefit the community which all started from junkyard parts. With her keen, resourcefu mind, she takes inspiration from science fiction novels and sci-fi television like CW's, The 100.

Still a high school junior, Veronica is gaining attention from the scientific arena. Last year, she was invited to attend a seminar in Massachusetts for high school honors students interested in becoming physicians or medical scientists. She is passionate about making a difference in the world and being the source to spark change. We asked her to share with Luca readers how she finds scientific inspirations every day, everywhere...

Be the Source

words | Veronica Reynoso

I walk to the junkyard to find scrap aluminum and every morning when that happens, I remap what my blueprint looks like in my head. Although I probably have it scribbled on the back of a cereal box somewhere, rewiring is key.

I first started inventing/ making innovative projects when I was around 9. To this day I look back and think “Oh what was I thinking?” or believe that my prototypes weren’t any good. In reality, they were extremely important in my foundation of creativity and science.

 Kennedy High junior, Veronica Reynoso, 16, is seated at her science wall in her bedroom. Reynoso is passionate about science and recently created a lamp powered by bioluminescent bacteria. Her next project is to build a prototype for a hollow flashlight that works solely on the heat of the human hand. Reynoso is photographed at her home La Palma on Thursday, December  29, 2016. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

As a young child, I so desperately wanted a “Beginning to Electronics Kit 1000” but it was $25.99 and my mother said no. What I ended up doing was using my parents’ old radios, telephones, and sewing machine and taking them apart to observe and learn. I was able to do the take-apart-put-back-together a couple times before I forgot to include one screw at the very bottom and was told to stop.

Very early on, when my dad did not control the TV, I was able to watch Jeopardy and learned that knowledge is power. However, I always wondered what those contestants did with their lives using such large amount of information. Throughout my childhood, television continued to be a source of inspiration and one day I remember watching the t.v. show Big Bang Theory for the first time. It was the episode where Sheldon Cooper goes insane and resorts to all sorts of experiments like making fish glow in the dark. I too, went 'bonkers' and decided to try it on my own.

The park near my house contains a small creek where tiny little organisms called Vibrio Fischeri. Nobody could ever see them since they only emitted a small amount of light, but I decided to use my persistent childish mind and see what I could do. I learned all about the bioluminescent bacteria, more specifically, why and how they glowed. After buying a set online from a laboratory in Carolina Biological, they were much more easier to handle. After months, I took a plant in my house that nobody ever cared about, inoculated the bacteria, and prepared it to glow.

Veronica Reynoso

Each time when I subcultured the bacteria and set it in a dark room, I saw that if I expose it to certain types of pathogenic bacteria, the level of light would differ. I had created a contaminant detector. A detection method, that if I continue my research, could further Sheldon Cooper character's experiment into measuring pollution. Of course, all my knowledge was from library books and the internet. So for now, my little bioluminescent lamp can serve as a replacement for my electric lamp when I read Nikola Tesla’s biography or when catching up on homework that I should have done when making my little lamp.

My problem was that I couldn’t afford to buy laboratory-controlled specimen constantly. I wasn’t a world-renowned physicist like Sheldon Cooper's character. So, I decided to use what I had and became the source. I still focused on the concept of light and so I powered a flashlight with the heat of my hand. My Piezoelectric Flashlight started as a headlight because I learned about the temperature differential. A couple months later after dealing with Peltier tiles, soldering, and led lights, I was able to power 5-foot high candles in light.

Although it is long since my 1st prototype of the Piezoelectric Flashlight, I still look back to construct my projects around the idea of being the source. For example, a boy sat next to me on the first day on Junior year math class. He was a football player and every time I went to lunch girls around me would talk about him because he came to class with a cast on from the previous night’s football game. Instead of contributing to that conversation, I went home to learn about advance wound care. I was flustered because I couldn’t even pronounce the hi-tech devices. I then developed “Ergonomic Band Aid” which is a solid-state localized therapy system that involves a program acting as a reverse heat system that soothes that injured area.

I often look back at the worn out notebook I had filled with illustrative apparatuses, some of them in crayon because when I had my epiphany, I had to grab that closest thing, which was a purple crayon. Presenting to science committees is kind of embarrassing but ends up being successful once I explain the process and the potential benefits to those in need.

Often times in school, I would have to explain what I made and the response people would have was “You know you could just buy batteries at the store”. I know someday my innovative projects will be a great help to the disadvantage and it is much more honorable than focusing on me and building a reputation for myself.

I get asked the question, “Why do you bother?” or “Why do scientists work and put themselves in such tedious work?” and honestly, nobody can possibly assume the depths and dimensions of your mind. The closest thing I’ll ever get to understanding the beautiful mind of Tesla, Nash, or Hickman, is by reading their biographies- most likely why I keep going, remembering why I first started. Be the source.

Veronica takes on the needs of the many and becomes the source of the solution. Whether it is participating in the Southern California Robot Fighting League with her robot M.O.N.T.I or simply brainstorming an idea on her workbench at home, her warrior fighting spirit should definitely be an example for other young women as well. We cannot wait to see where she goes from here...


 Kennedy High junior, Veronica Reynoso, 16, is passionate about science and recently created a lamp powered by bioluminescent bacteria. Her next project is to build a prototype for a hollow flashlight that works solely on the heat of the human hand. Reynoso is photographed at her home La Palma on Thursday, December  29, 2016. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Deanna Lee

Interview with Deanna Lee

interview | Hannah Kat Jones

I Am Genie and Hannah Kat Jones teamed up to surprise Deanna with a fashion shoot in downtown LA! Click here to read more about I Am Genie's incredible program and read some of Hannah's interview below!


Favorite Colors:

Purple and yellow

Favorite Sport & Team:


Favorite Food:


Favorite Animal:


HKJ: How did you feel prior to your shoot for LUCA Magazine?

DL: I didn't know exactly what to feel but I felt chills all over my body...not sure if it was the excitement or the nerves!

HKJ: What was your favorite part about the shoot?

DL: The fact that every single person who was there that day made me feel so comfortable and confident that I could do this shoot! Good vibes all that morning

HKJ: Did you learn something about modeling that you didn’t know before? What would you share with readers so that they can follow your footsteps?

DL: I say take it {the opportunity to collaborate} because you never know what you are capable of. You can show others that not everyone is perfect as those top models! You can influence a person's life in a positive way and that's what I want to do.

HKJ: After the shoot did your perspective about modeling or fashion change? If so, how?

DL: One of the first things I learned was how much of fashion photography is a group effort. And its not only just the model and photographer! it is the stylists, the makeup team and photographer who are God! Shout out to them!

HKJ: For 2017, what message would you like to send to girls around the world who are growing up, facing challenges of their own and finding themselves in the world? what you would tell your younger self if you could?

DL: Be a risk taker and challenge yourself to see and try new things and look at things in a different perspective You yourself have the opportunity to succeed only if you take on those challenges to become a greater and better individual!

HKJ: How can readers follow your journey?

DL: Follow me on Instagram @deeanuh and Snapchat: dea_nuh


Behind the Scenes



If Not for Anasazi

words | Gina Pellizzeri

Being a teenager in and of itself is no easy feat. Dealing with peer pressure, managing high school, relationships with friends and family, these can all be overwhelming enough, but when you combine that with battling anxiety, depression, and ADHD, life can begin to feel impossible. I’ve wrestled considerably over the years with trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be.

Anasazi Foundation

Over the past year, I had begun making choices and friends that were not healthy for me, and in the process, started isolating myself from my family. My older sister had previously gone through what some call “Tree-hab” about eight months earlier, with an organization called ANASAZI, which is a clinical wilderness therapy program. My family thought it would be good for me to go, but I swore that if they ever sent me, I’d run away. In fact, I was so disconnected at home, that I was making plans to do just that. As fate would have it, on February 4th, 2016, my Dad announced, on what I thought was my way to school, that I was going to ANASAZI, and I felt terrified.

When I first arrived on the “trail,” I was tired, scared, physically weak, and anxious. The trail staff, or “Trail Walkers” as they call them, that were with me were amazing! They experienced trail life in all of the same ways that us “Young Walkers” were. Having their support made it possible for me to learn and grow. As the weeks went by, I became stronger physically, but even more so, mentally and emotionally. I remember a time when we were hiking up a difficult Mesa. Fearful, as the rocks were sliding under my feet, I decided to give up. Just then, a Trail Walker came up behind me and said, “Fight or flight.” At that moment, I decided to fight. This experience taught me that when I’m anxious I can choose to channel my anxiety in positive, productive ways, and overcome.

It’s difficult to condense the profound experiences that I had during the 11 weeks that I spent on the trail. The most valuable lesson I learned was to see myself as the Creator sees me; beautiful, smart, funny, strong, loving, talented. This perspective helped me to truly love and accept myself, despite my weaknesses. My parents and I grew considerably during that time. Now, we can understand each other so much better and enjoy being together.  If it were not for ANASAZI, my life would not be as it is right now. I’m now deliberate in the choices I make, and even though I stumble, I know I can get up and continue to walk forward. I hope that ANASAZI Foundation can exist for generations to come, so that teens and young adults like my sister and I, can have an opportunity with their families, to have a new beginning.

I am Deep Emerald Pool, Guiding Light Rooted Heart, and I have spoken.


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