Karthikgesan shows off the gold medals he won for making environmentally friendly pots in the recent virtual global competition. – Courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran

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PETALING JAYA, May 18 – Malaysian teenager Karthikgesan Santharasekaran’s love of nature led him to come up with simple innovations to protect the environment.

On the way he took part in these inventions in various competitions and school exhibitions.

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

His winning inventions were plant compost and biodegradable pots.

He entered the competition’s open category, environmental machines and green technology, which attracted participants from 222 groups and from 12 other countries.

The virtual competition took place from February to the beginning of May this year.

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

He told Malay Mail that his biodegradable pots come in a variety of sizes and are made with cow dung, lemongrass, and coconut shells.

“Because of the composition of these materials, these pots can last three months before they dissolve and can later be used as fertilizer or compost for plants.

“I made these pots because they are more environmentally friendly than the PVC pots or disposable plastic plant pots because they are biodegradable.

“And anyone can use it, whether you live in the city or in the country, as the biodegradable pots do not harm the environment.”

Karthikgesan's winning inventions include his biodegradable pots, which are available in different sizes.  - Courtesy of Karthikgesan SantharasekaranKarthikgesan’s winning inventions include his biodegradable pots, which are available in different sizes. – Courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran

His other gold medal was for inventing a potting machine called the Enviro Solar Compost Machine, which makes the biodegradable pots in different sizes depending on the user.

The machine is capable of making the pots once the ingredients are thrown in in the right composition, which is 90 percent cow dung and the rest is lemongrass and coconut husks.

The Enviro Solar Compost Machine is a potting machine that makes biodegradable pots of various sizes.  - Courtesy of Karthikgesan SantharasekaranThe Enviro Solar Compost Machine is a potting machine that makes biodegradable pots of various sizes. – Courtesy of Karthikgesan Santharasekaran

When asked about the benefits of cow dung, he said that it contains all of the essential nutrients such as carbon, fiber and nitrogen to provide nutrients for the plants and as plant compost.

“Lemongrass can be used as a mosquito repellent and has a nice fragrance that you can place anywhere in your home without worrying about the smell it gives off.

“Coconut shells, on the other hand, are an excellent biodegradable material, which is an important ingredient that many can use instead of throwing it away after extracting the 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 environmental protection.

The father-son duo always researched information online and often discussed how to turn used and waste materials into useful inventions for the community.

“Since I was young, my father took me on nature excursions such as the Belum-Temenggor Forest Reserve to observe wildlife and nature and find ways to preserve it.

“When I was younger, I was the Youth Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund in Malaysia, where I gave public presentations on the importance of protecting the environment.

“Because of my upbringing, I have always had a keen interest in protecting the environment, and I know that nature will never protect us if we do not serve nature.”

This isn’t the first time the teenager has been exposed to simple inventions when developing a simple motorcycle tire pump in a school competition last year.

The motorcycle tire pump is connected to the vehicle’s exhaust pipe and the deflated tire.

“You just have to start the motorcycles so that carbon monoxide is injected from the exhaust into the deflated tire.

“I built the motorcycle pump when I noticed that a lot of women and old people couldn’t change their own tires if they were stuck somewhere and there was no one to help them.

“This tire pump will help you in times of need,” he said.

He also hoped to inspire and encourage other young people to get involved in environmental protection and innovate to find solutions to make the world greener.