Finalist of the EPIC Awards 2020
Founder of The Thames Project. Master in Telecom & Digital Business 2009.
After reaching 300 million people worldwide on international and national media including the CNN, BBC & ITV raising awareness about plastic pollution, I asked myself, ‘So what?’ My mission is to change people’s mindset from awareness to solutions; inspire them to take action, innovate & solve plastic pollution and show that there are profits to be made protecting the planet. We have the hardware in place, we just need to change the software in our heads. I was born in a remote village in northeast India and I love spending time with mother nature, pushing myself out of my comfort zone with sails, skis, a paddle & wheels. I am a former IBM and Siemens employee, an adventurer, angel investor, TEDx speaker and I am now dedicated full-time to solving plastic pollution.
How did IE help you get to where you are today?
IE is the biggest turning point in my life. IE has equipped me with the framework and skills I need to take on new challenges and pursue opportunities I have never done before with confidence. Thanks to IE’s global alumni network, I can mobilize new projects across the world within days rather than months. The IE entrepreneurial spirit is core to my current work & mission to show the world that entrepreneurs can protect the planet and make profits at the same time.
What drove you to work for a cause that believes in the greater good?
I love adventure, I love to push myself out of my comfort zone and since I did not know how to swim, I thought ocean racing was my thing and I signed up to race a 70ft yacht from London to Rio de Janeiro. Ocean racing takes us to the most remote corners of the planet and while racing across the Atlantic Ocean I was shocked to see the amount of plastic in the remote corners of the ocean. A fellow team had to stop racing to rescue two turtles caught in fishing nets & bottles. Back in London, I saw lots of plastic on the river Thames and got involved in a few river cleanups. When I started researching about the scale of the issue, I discovered that plastic is in the water we drink, the food we eat and in the air we breathe. The toxic chemicals leaching out of this plastic are directly affecting the health of humans, especially young babies.
When we were young, we went to the beach to swim, UK children today go to the beach to pick up plastic and do beach cleanups. When we were small, we could smell the fresh air in New Delhi, children today in New Delhi have to wear masks. All in the last 30 years.
We cannot allow this to happen. We have created the crisis and we can solve this. That’s when I founded The Thames Project, to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution, and now Common.VC to discover and accelerate solutions solving the plastic crisis. Someone has to do it and I am lucky to be in a position to be able to self-fund these projects with my time and money.
In what way is your work impacting the world?
I Cycle ON the rivers, canals and collect plastic litter to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution. I have removed 4,000+ Kgs of plastic from the waterways in the UK, US, and the Netherlands, with more than 500+ volunteers.
The Bamboo Bike on water has been a great conversation starter and I have reached 300 million+ people worldwide on traditional tv, radio, print and online media like CNN, BBC, ITV to raise awareness about plastic pollution. My work has been personally endorsed by Theresa May MP, the British Prime Minister on behalf of the country and Michael Gove MP, the British Environment Secretary, as well as the Department of Environment, etc.
My work has been liked by 1.2 million people, shared by 600k people including celebrities like Ron Howard and Adrian Grenier (from Hollywood), Michel Combes (CEO of Sprint US), Elsa Noguera (Minister of Housing, City and Territory in Colombia) and has been translated into over 21 languages.
But I ask myself – “So What?” How do I create and measure the tangible impact? Get real plastic tonnage and not views on media. Awareness is great but we need solutions.
To find solutions, I have to turbo-charged innovation. I organize Plastic Hackathons where I bring young people, human behavior scientists, artists, ballet dancers, industry experts to sit at the same table, innovate and find scalable solutions to solve the crisis. I am proud to let you know that two new solutions from the Hackathon are already incorporated as new companies in the UK targeting 2 million tons of virgin plastic from the UK economy in year 1. Now, I have real tonnage, physical plastic tonnage and a real impact on the economy with profitable business models.
Besides the Hackathons, I also campaign for events, corporations, festivals, and so on. to go plastic free and offer strategic advice to help them reduce their plastic footprint.
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