Among 300 contestants, the Mumbai team also won the best integrated human practices special award at the Genetically Engineered Machine in Boston for its paan stains removal machine.
Chewing paan is not only causing health hazards among many Indians, but paan stains are also tarnishing public spaces. Be it a historical monument or a newly inaugurated public infrastructure, none are spared from being painted red.
As paan stains defame public spaces, it also becomes an easy breeding ground for H1N1 virus and hosts other harmful contagions.
In a fight against this practice degrading public spaces, a team of eight students from Mumbai has clinched the gold medal for developing a cost-effective and eco-friendly method to remove beetle leaf or paan stains from public places. The all-girls team won the award at an international competition held in Boston in the US.
Competing with around 300 other contestants, the team also won the best integrated human practices special award at the Genetically Engineered Machines 2018 at Boston.
The innovative product has drawn the team a grant of Rs 10 lakh from the Department of Biotechnology for participating in the event.
Aishwarya Rajurkar, Anjali Vaidya, Komal Parab, Maithili Savant, Mitali Patil, Nishtha Pange, Sanika Ambre and Shrutika Sawant are students of Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai.
In the quest to eradicate the awful stain marks from the city’s infrastructure and suburb trains, the team met different paan shop owners and cleaners who clean the stains daily.
In a conversation with The Better India, Nishtha said,
We genetically modified a microorganism, a bacteria to be precise, so that it produces specific enzymes which could degrade or remove the pan stains. But as the release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in the environment is not safe and due to various government regulations and keeping in mind the suggestions given from the industries, we decided to move it to an ‘enzyme-based application system,’ which will remove these stains in an effective way.
During the survey, they found that 60,000 litres of water were being used daily to clean stains from trains and car sheds. In short, the Western and Central Railway ends up spending crores of rupees in Mumbai alone to tackle this menace, reports The Logical Indian.
The innovative product not only requires less water, but will also ease the job of railway officials.
The team says it was constantly guided by its faculty members Anushree Lokur, Mayuri Rege, Sachin Rajagopalan and Mugdha Kulkarni.