2 Nov 2016, 10:57 — 7 min read
With the advent of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign, the need for hygiene, cleanliness and waste management solutions are garnering greater attention. However, one individual who has made it his life’s mission to address the need for sustainable waste management is Dr Vivek Agrawal. A doctor by qualification, he initially worked in the public health sector, focusing on mother & child wellness programmes. Dr Agrawal soon realised that a prerequisite to good health was good sanitation facilities, and sustainable waste management solutions. He subsequently founded Green Tech Infra Pvt Ltd, which works closely with the public and private sectors to create customised waste management solutions.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Dr Vivek Agrawal (VA) shares how Green Tech Infra provides extensive solutions for waste management. Watch this video to know more Dr Agrawal's role in bringing waste management to the forefront in addressing public health concerns.
GL: Tell us about your business & how it came into being.
VA: Green Infra Tech primarily focuses on creating & implementing solid and liquid waste management solutions. We started this business about 10 years back when we realised that solid waste disposal is a major problem which needs to be addressed scientifically & professionally.
Prior to this, waste management was never considered an industry and professionals were not involved in it. So with my medical background, particularly in the public health sector, I realised that health cannot be achieved without tackling the issues related to solid & liquid waste management. So that’s how we started this company and now this company is operational in a few cities of India like Vadodra, Nagpur, Gazipur, Surat. We collect waste, transport it in a scientific manner and also process it. Similarly, for liquid waste we have small to large sewage treatment plants. We have created solutions for filtering out of water with zero discharge.
I am the first generation entrepreneur in my family in this sector. We had businesses of textile and electronics in the past but no one ventured into the field of environment before me. My father worked in the private sector. I realised that if you want to bring change in society, you have to be an entrepreneur. I believe that an entrepreneur in the field of environment will lead to sustainable development.
Now hopefully my children will carry forward my legacy. I am a medical doctor by qualification & graduated from SMS medical college, one of the most prestigious medical institutions of the country. I subsequently did my Masters in public health. So my basic interest lies in preventive health care and social medicine. While working for mother and child preventive health care programmes, I realised that sanitation is a major issue, and unless we handle solid waste in a scientific manner we cannot achieve mother and child health. So that’s how I translated my education into action and started this business. Our foremost step was that we started collecting waste in a segregated manner. Once waste is collected in a segregated manner then it becomes a resource and is no longer mere waste. That was the first transition that we introduced.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
VA: Waste management is full of challenges. The challenges are internal and external. When we started this business, waste management was essentially a public domain, and was carried out by the municipalities. They considered us as a potential threat to their occupation, though in our company we have always had a policy that we will not displace anyone, rather we will include everyone. We believe in social inclusion to handle waste management.
Moreover, people were not accustomed to a private sector company working for road to road garbage collection. However, the quality of services we provided got people onboard. They realised that a private sector firm can deliver and hence they developed faith in us, they developed confidence in us and then they joined us.
If we look at the people who have traditionally worked in this sector, I must say that they are marvelous people. It’s a misnomer that the people who are working as rag-pickers or garbage collectors are some kind of nuisance. The fact is that they are doing a great public service to the people who just produce waste and do not want this waste in their backyard and dispose it in a haphazard manner.
GL: How big is your team & how do you keep your team motivated?
VA: We have nearly 3000 grass-root functionaries; we have people working at middle and lower management and at the top management we have a team of 26. Everyone is a stakeholder in the company, they are not just employees. Since each team member is a shareholder in some form or the other, there is greater incentive and motivation to work for the growth of the company.
GL: Who are some of your major clients?
VA: Our major clients are municipalities of Vadodra, Surat, Nagpur, Chandarpur, Junagad & the Mahindra World City.
GL: In your opinion, how does GlobalLinker enable SMEs to grow their business?
VA: GlobalLinker is a platform where Micro, Small & Medium enterprises come together. They come to know about other such enterprises which otherwise do not find enough space at a global level to be recognised or to be known. So this is a platform where people can find out something about you and your business venture. It’s a great platform to develop your network and grow your business.
GL: What is your big business dream?
VA: My dream is a wasteless future. You might say that a wasteless future goes against the very concept that sustains our business. In fact that is not the case. Wasteless future means that whatever we generate as waste should be utilised and we should become part of that utilisation process. It means that we should always think of waste as a resource and that every piece of it needs to be utilised, re-utilised and should reach to the end of its life. Once that happens, a wasteless future can be achieved. This is our dream and constant endeavour at Green Tech Infra.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
VA: I would appeal to the youth graduating from engineering colleges, management institutes, medical schools or from any social science schools, to come forward and take waste management and sustainable development as a profession. Waste management is not simply a passion; it is a profession that can provide aspiring entrepreneurs a lot of satisfaction and growth prospects.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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