Poonam Bir Kasturi loves to plan — whether it is a holiday to that uninhabited place, her innovative designs or solutions to the monumental trash problem in cities. Now this “compostwali” from Bengaluru is winning laurels for exactly that. An eco warrior, she is the only finalist from Bengaluru for the Social Entrepreneurship of the Year Indian Awards 2015, and she stands a chance to take her ideas to the leaders of the world at the World Economic Forum!
“This will get everyone to consider their role in cleaning up their country. It’ll open up new doors,” says a visibly excited Poonam, who can’t stop flashing her warm smile. The idea of composting at home struck her when she was wondering how to best occupy her time, if one should make an impact and if yes, how? “And then I guess you get started by a project,” she says about founding Daily Dump, the ‘world’s first waste shop’ that helps you make a difference, beginning with your kitchen.
“You are an ordinary Indian, tired of words and want to contribute in a tangible, direct manner to the mess you see around you, without playing the blame game. This is a simple first step,” says the “compostwali”, something she’s fondly known as. “The truth behind the name is that, I did not find it, it found me. Really,” she quips.
This industrial designer by profession is known for her innovation, her flagship terracotta pots called Khambas. Beautifully decorated, fitting into any living space in the city and surprisingly, with no foul odour emanating from it, her innovation is a huge hit across 17 cities with over 25,000 committed users and 2 lakh people directly benefited by it. “If we don’t start managing our own waste, our cities will collapse with toxic materials and all our wealth in the banks will not be able to keep the poison away from our food, air and water,” says the urban crusader, matter-of-factly.
Poonam doesn’t entertain wasteful thoughts though. Keeping herself busy by questioning everything, pouring over books across genres and spending time with her family, she calls herself an “India addict”, believing design can do wonders to the country. Like her pots for instance, something that has tripled the incomes of the potter community, explaining why the SCHWAB foundation (a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum) and the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation thought that her novelty was important to advancing societies across the globe. She believes that we can create a revolution and for starters, “By not saying “yuck” to waste.”...