Malaysian teen wins gold for biodegradable pots, eco-friendly compost at global green innovation fair

·4-min read
Karthikgesan showing his gold medals that he won for creating eco-friendly pots in the recent virtual global competition. — Picture courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran
Karthikgesan showing his gold medals that he won for creating eco-friendly pots in the recent virtual global competition. — Picture courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran

PETALING JAYA, May 18 — Malaysian teenager Karthikgesan Santharasekaran's love for nature led him to create simple innovations to protect the environment.

Along the way, he entered these inventions in various competitions and school exhibitions.

This ultimately led Karthikgesan, 15 to winning two gold medals at a virtual Global Olimpiad Green Innovation Fair.

His winning inventions were a plant compost and biodegradable pots.

He took part in the competition’s environmental machinery and green technology open category which saw contestants from 222 groups and from 12 other countries.

The virtual competition took place from February till early May this year.

Karthikgesan is from Batang Padang in Perak and attends SMK Proton City 2.

He told Malay Mail that his biodegradable pots come in various sizes and are made from cow dung, lemongrass and coconut husks.

“The composition of these materials make these pots that can last for three months before disintegrating and can be later used as a fertiliser or compost for plants.

“I created these pots as they were more environmentally-friendly than the PVC pots or single-use plastic plant pots as they are biodegradable.

"And anyone can use them whether you're living in the city or the rural area as the biodegradable pots do not harm the environment."

Karthikgesan's winning inventions include his biodegradable pots that come in various sizes. — Picture courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran
Karthikgesan's winning inventions include his biodegradable pots that come in various sizes. — Picture courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran

His other gold medal was for his invention of a pot machine known as Enviro Solar Compost Machine that makes the biodegradable pots in various sizes depending on the user.

The machine is able to make the pots once the ingredients are thrown in in the correct composition which are 90 per cent of cow dung, and the remainder consisting of lemon grass and coconut husks.

The Enviro Solar Compost Machine is a pot machine that makes biodegradable pots of various sizes. — Picture courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran
The Enviro Solar Compost Machine is a pot machine that makes biodegradable pots of various sizes. — Picture courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran

Asked as to the benefits of cow dung, he said that it has all the important nutrients such as carbon, fibre, and nitrogen to provide nutrients for the plants and as a plant compost.

“Lemongrass can be used as a mosquito repellent and gives off a nice fragrance where one can put it anywhere in their homes without worrying about the smell it emits.

“Coconut husks, on the other hand, is an excellent biodegradable material which is an important ingredient that many can use rather than throwing it away after extracting its coconut milk.

“These pots can last up to three months.”

Karthikgesan attributed his success to his father who helped him research materials that could be used to make the compost for the competition.

His father was also passionate about preserving the environment.

The father-son duo would always research information online and frequently discuss how used and waste materials can be used to make beneficial inventions for the community.

“Since I was young, my father would bring me on nature trips such as to the Belum-Temenggor forest reserve to observe wildlife and nature and to find ways to preserve it.

“When I was younger, I was a youth ambassador for Malaysia’s World Wildlife Fund where I gave public presentations on the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.

“I’ve always had a keen interest in preserving the environment due to my upbringing and know that if we don’t serve nature, nature will never protect us.”

This is not the first time the teenager has been exposed to simple inventions as he created a simple motorcycle tyre pump last year in a school competition.

The motorcycle tyre pump connects to the vehicle’s exhaust pipe and the deflated tyre.

“All one has to do is start their motorcycles so that carbon monoxide from the exhaust pipe is injected into the deflated tyre.

“I made the motorcycle pump as I noticed that many women and old people were unable to change their own tyres if they were stuck somewhere with no one to help them.

“This tyre pump will help them in times of need,” he said.

He also hoped to inspire and encourage other young people to take part in preserving the environment and finding solutions through innovations to make the world a greener place.


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