Air pollution can increase the risk of several respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and multiple other health conditions.
According to the World Air Quality Index, the air quality in Delhi touched hazardous levels in June this year with the national capital registering an air quality index value (a composite measure of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate pollution) of 999.
Experts say exposure to high levels of air pollutants raises the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and multiple other health conditions. India’s alarming air pollution levels, however, have also presented a significant market opportunity for global brands. Players like Honeywell, Daikin, Panasonic, and many others have entered the Indian market with their anti-pollution offerings.
Startups, too, have come up with innovative ideas to tackle air pollution and offer solutions at various levels. Here are some of them.
This Odisha-based IoT startup has designed Aurassure, an environment monitoring device. It is a cloud-connected network of online air pollution monitoring systems for smart cities. Through the network, industries can access high-resolution pollution data ‘through a hardware integrated software platform’.
The device captures various air quality parameters from different locations and stores it on a web platform. The data can be accessed over a mobile app. Some of the parameters recorded are nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen monoxide (NO), Ozone (O3), methane (CH4), ammonia (NH3), PM2.5, PM10, UV, weather parameters like temperature, humidity, rainfall, pressure, wind speed and wind direction. To make it compatible with smart cities, the device is Ethernet, GPRS, wifi and LoRa enabled.
The company claims the ‘portable solution’ can be deployed in schools, colleges, hospitals and research institutes to raise air quality awareness. This device can also be useful in agriculture as the data recorded can be used by farmers to improve irrigation, and take protective measures for crops from adverse climatic events. It also has an urban flood monitoring system that can track water levels in canals and rivers.
Phoenix Robotix, founded in 2015, is the brain-child of six engineers from NIT Rourkela – Amiya Kumar Samantaray, Kishan Kumar Patel, Akansha Priyadarshini, Asish Sahoo, Nataraj Sahoo and Ashutosha Sarangi.
Shellios, a Delhi-based startup is testing a biker-friendly solution that will help combat air pollution. The company has designed a helmet weighing 1.6 kg with an in-built air purifier and is now testing the same.
There are heaps of innovations on devices measuring air pollution, but Shellios takes a step further. The purifier filters air so a biker can breathe clean. It also comes with a Bluetooth-enabled app that lets the rider know when the helmet requires cleaning.
The cleaning function inside operates on a battery operated module, carrying a 2,600 mAh unit. A micro-USB port can be used to charge the battery. Along with this, the leather padding and protective layers present on the helmet are detachable making it easier to clean the parts.
Founded by IIT-Delhi alumni Arpit Dhupar, Kushagra Srivastava and Prateek Sachan in 2016, Chakr Innovation converts diesel soot from generators into inks and paints.
Chakr Shield works on a solvent-based method. It collects around 90 percent of particulate matter emissions, which is essentially black carbon. The emission then undergoes various proprietary processes to remove heavy metals and carcinogens (substances or agents that can cause cancer). It is then converted into purified carbon-based pigment. In the final stage, the carbon is taken through another chemical process to make different types of inks and paints, further ensuring the disposal of the pollutants in the most environmentally safe way.
The technology claims to capture over 90 percent of the particulate matter emissions from the exhaust of diesel generators without causing any adverse impact on the diesel engine.
In an earlier interview with YourStory, Kushagra said, “We are also in talks with several industrial houses, IT companies, hospitality complexes, and public-sector undertakings for our product. The ink we make from pollution is being used by a large computer manufacturer to print their packaging in India. So far, there are 35 sites running with Chakr Shield in Delhi NCR across industries like Telecom, FMCG, Real Estate, Educational Institutions, and many more.”
The nasal filter is sold by the Delhi-based company called Nanoclean. It was founded by a team from IIT-Delhi - Prateek Sharma, Tushar Vyas and Jatin Kewlani in 2017.
At just Rs 10, this nasal filter can restrict the entry of harmful particles right when you breathe in. The company claims the filter has a 95 percent efficiency rate in blocking PM2.5. The particulate matter is a mixture of tiny particles lodged in liquid droplets in the atmosphere. PM2.5 can cause respiratory and heart ailments when lodged inside the lungs.
Nasofilters use nanotechnology to ensures there is minimal hinderance while breathing. The team created nano fibres by reducing the thread diameter of a normal fabric by 100 times to filter out pollutants.
Unlike other traditional (face masks) options available in the market, this does not restrict breathing as it can be simply worn over the nostrils. One nasofilter can be used for 12 hours and is meant for single use only.
These are available on the company’s website, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm and Apollo pharmacy stores in Delhi.
They also claim to protect from dust and pollens and thus helping Asthma patients, as well as allergy. (pollens are larger than PM2.5)
Launched in 2017, Airlens, a nasal wearable was developed by a team of IIT scientists - Padmashri Prof Randeep Guleria (Director of AIIMS) and Prof Paul Yock, (Father of Biodesign, Stanford University), and the team Shashi Ranjan, Debayan Saha, Yogesh Agarwal, Akanksha Gupta and Harsh Sheth. It is sold under the company PerSapiens. The nasal wearable is a use-and-throw product and does not require cleaning. It restricts entry of pollutants into the lungs, does not require any attachments and is barely 2cm in size.
The wearable is backed by an app that helps one assess the amount of protection needed. The Air Quality Data System developed by the startup gives real-time data on the quality of air in the immediate surroundings (within 1km radius). Its technology uses ‘satellite, weather, traffic data with advanced models to provide accurate air quality data’ for the user’s location.
Once the app suggests when to use the wearable and how long to use it, one can wear accordingly and track their progress on it. The device is available on Amazon and their website at an introductory price of Rs 347 for both children and adults. The Airlens Data app, on the other hand, is for free of cost.