Now into its third year since its launch, the purpose of Swachh Bharat has still not been fulfilled. The campaign’s primary objective is to clean up the streets, roads, and infrastructure of India. In light of this, ‘How many of you actually keep the country clean?’ is a question most often asked. And though that number isn’t as high as we’d like it to be, there are a few who do go out of their way to better the lives of others.
With a dream of building the cheapest toilets for those living in the slums of India, Binish Desai, an innovator and social entrepreneur, designed a technology to recycle industrial waste and is using this to build toilets in rural Gujarat. He was just 11 years old when he first created a prototype of bricks made from chewing gum and paper. As weird as it sounds, this innovation is truly one of a kind.
“I was in class VI when I discovered that chewing gum and paper can transform into a really thick and tough block. That was what first pushed me to believe that if I could experiment a bit more, I would be able to find sustainable solutions to build houses for rural people. Today, that is my ultimate dream. It all started one day when I was chewing gum and it stuck to my pants. I took a piece of paper, wrapped the gum in it and put it aside. Later, I found that the gum and paper glued together and turned into a hard material that was tough and thick. This gave me the idea to design a brick using the same material as chewing gum and paper,” explains Desai.
But this was only his prototype. The 23-year-old then replaced the chewing gum with a better organic binder and refined the process. Using this building material, Desai has built more than 1,000 toilets, till date, in various parts of the country like Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Hyderabad. The toilets start from ₹9000-30,000, depending upon the size and the type of toilet built. And the response his idea received from people was overwhelming. “Two years ago, I had a toilet built for ₹10,000, which was funded by an NGO. Over the last two years, aside from yearly maintenance and the occasional paint job, I have had to do nothing else. I am so grateful for such innovations that are slowly changing our lives,” says Rita Rathore, a single mother and a domestic helper, who had a toilet built at her house using these innovative bricks.
Each light is handmade by women. Each light prevents at least 7 kg of waste from being dumped in a landfill and reduces at least 15.5 kg of carbon emission. These lights are also completely recyclable and we use LED bulbs, said Binish Desai, Innovator, and Social Entrepreneur.
Being The Innovator That He Is
Binish’s latest innovations are lamps and chandeliers also made out of waste. He has 19 inventions registered under his firm, Eco Eclectic Technologies. “My 19 inventions are the binders and various eco-friendly products. The list includes 42 different types of waste converted into 152 different types of products, which EETech works on. Some of the products are Eco-wood, P-block bricks, Get-set-go toilets. And Pavers made from four different combinations of waste,” he adds.
Recently, Binish was bestowed upon a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from KEISEI International University. From the USA in recognition for his work in the field of waste recycling and management.
Are you inspired by this 23-year-old? You must have been. Meet Kanika Tekriwal who started the first commercial flight business called JetSetGo. She has cancer and is an inspiration. Read her story here.