After working amidst a Dalit community in a village, Abhilash Salimath realised his true calling was to undo the damage that humans have done to this planet and make a difference in society. Read on to know more about this young entrepreneur with a futuristic vision.
This man has always been passionate about the environment for as long as he can remember. It started out with a love for the natural world and evolved into an elaborate network of beliefs about the importance of safeguarding the environment. After working in a Dalit community for six months, he decided to put his passion into practice and co-founded a waste management company called Being Eco. Read on to know more about Abhilash Salimath, the young entrepreneur who wants to make sustainability sexy.
Building Toilets to Promote Hygiene in the Dalit Community
“The idea behind this project was to bring about a change in the practices of the community members of this village,” says Abhilash. “I wanted to shift the current practice of open defecation (ODF) to using an ecological sanitation facility.” Abhilash lived in a Dalit community for six months and helped them build waterless toilets, since water was very scarce in the village. He also promoted the safety of women through the use of these toilets.
It was here that Abhilash realised that his true calling was to work in the socio-environment sector. He wanted to work with communities to “undo the damage that we humans have done to our planet”. That’s how Being Eco was founded.
Co-Founder of Being Eco
Abhilash felt that the world needed a paradigm shift, and to make that happen, people needed to realise that they are the force for change. “I was tired of seeing piles of filth lying around everywhere. Everyone who was responsible for it—including me—threw their hands up in the air saying, ‘We pay taxes; it’s the government’s job to take care of this,’” the young entrepreneur reminisces. Realising that wasn’t going to happen, he decided to do something about it on his own.
“So I found someone who shared similar ideologies like me, and co-founded the company. Shortly, we were able to put a team together and work on different aspects of handling different projects,” says Abhilash. He officially launched Being Eco on World Environment Day (June 5th), 2015, during an event hosted by the Karnataka Government. The organisation has been operational for about a year now, and has a small factory set up where its products are manufactured.
For the Love of Nature
Being Eco has worked with numerous apartments and residential areas, where they conduct waste management awareness workshops. The organisation’s members educate the various stakeholders in these areas about the need to manage waste, and teach residents how they can do it in a very cost-effective and environment-friendly manner.
Being Eco is driving effective waste management by installing composting units in a few apartments, hotels, and colleges. They have also worked with schools and conducted environmental literacy programs to promote sustainability through gamification. “We carry out hands-on workshops with the students, and bring about capacity-building, where they come up with solutions for the environmental issues our society is facing,” says Abhilash, describing their activities.
Making a Clean Difference
Being Eco is currently working with a couple of towns in Karnataka and helping them design waste management systems for the entire town. The organisation plans to cover the entire spectrum of sustainable solutions like rainwater harvesting, sewage treatment and solar in the near future.
Abhilash explains his vision for Being Eco, “We’d be like the one-stop-shop for organisations who want to use sustainable products and practices. The goal is to one day be able to look back at our journey and be glad that we’ve made a difference in society.”
Global Warming is for Real – How can Everyone Help?
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Native American proverb
Abhilash believes that change starts at your own doorstep. The first thing concerned citizens need to do is to accept that we are responsible for what we throw. Segregation is the key to managing waste. Organisations can treat each stream of segregated waste differently and effectively. This way, we will definitely see a decline in the mountains of filth right at the corner of our street.
Burning and making landfills of waste are some of the significant contributors to global climate change (global warming). It is extremely vital for everyone to understand the consequence of creating and managing waste. “Being sustainable is definitely the way forward. Without these measures, contaminated water, air and soil are going to plague our societies,” Abhilash says fervently. “Global warming is a reality, and effective steps – however small – should be taken at the earliest to reduce its ill effects. A cleaner, greener environment is what will promote better health and safety for our society.”