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Pharma scientist in Kerala quits corporate job to solve waste menace

Dr. C N Manoj (Left) is the founder of Pelican Kenterra, a startup that has developed a medium by organically composting biodegradable waste. This medium is used to fill the median of Kochi Metro instead of soil. Image Credit: Pelican Kenterra

Concerned about the alarming quantity of biodegradable waste from households in the state being unscientifically disposed of in landfills, a pharmacy research scientist in Kerala quits his high-paying corporate job in a pharma company to launch a mission to solve waste menace.

Dr C N Manoj, 52, founder of Pelican Kenterra in Cherthala, Alappuzha, has taken the leap from the pharmaceutical world to the realm of waste management after realising the fact that households in Kerala were not following any proper waste management system to dispose both bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste. He along with his co-founders Dr Priya Rao and Seshadri Nathan Krishnan launched Pelican Ventures, a startup in 2018, to come up with waste management solutions.

After conducting research, their startup developed a natural composting accelerator/inoculum called “Composorb” which will turn all biodegradable wastes like kitchen waste, food waste, meat, fish, fruit peels, seeds and vegetable waste into a nutrient rich organic planting media and manure.

Dr Manoj, who once thrived in the fast-paced world of pharmaceutical research after doing his PhD in chemistry of natural products, found himself increasingly disheartened by waste being dumped in his home state. “The devastating impact of waste on the environment and human health is huge. The only way to a healthy society is proper management of waste. We put our expertise to develop the inoculum and convert the waste into manure,” Manoj told “Open Digest”.

“Composorb developed by us has the remarkable ability to break down and decompose biodegradable waste efficiently. Through a carefully calibrated process, it accelerates the natural decomposition of organic materials converting them into rich, nutrient-dense compost,” he said adding that Composorb offers an eco-friendly alternative that not only reduces waste sent to landfills but also generates a valuable end product – nutrient-rich compost that can enhance soil fertility and boost agricultural productivity. “We have already partnered with Kochi Metro offering the soil-less compost product which can be used as a substitute to fill the road medians for planting flowers. Kochi Metro is using our product instead of soil in the medians for planting saplings,” he said.

By diverting organic waste from landfills and providing a sustainable source of compost, Dr Manoj and his colleagues aim to make a substantial impact on waste management practices and pave the way for a more sustainable future.

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