– By René Van Berkel, Representative to India of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization
Did you know that nine out of ten people everywhere in the world breathe dirty air?
Air pollution affects everyone – rich or poor, old or young, man or woman, urban or rural. It’s a problem that cannot be dealt with in isolation; just like the causes of air pollution are many and varied, the solutions need to be too. We need out-of-the-box ideas to tackle air pollution. India is a petri dish of innovation, and here are five innovations to #BeatAirPollution:
1. A Revolution from Pollution
Delhi-based Chakr Innovation curbs air pollution with the world’s first retro-fit emission control device for diesel generators. It captures ~90% of particulate matter emissions from the exhaust air without reducing energy efficiency. The diesel soot captured from the exhaust is converted into inks and paints.
2. Solar Ferry
ADITYA, India’s first solar ferry, built by NavAlt Solar & Electric Boats, brings together innovation in naval design and engineering, solar power and advanced controls. It is India’s first commercially viable solar-powered ferry. The 75 seater ferry gets over 80% of its energy from the sun and can cruise over 6 hours on a sunny day.
3. CleanTech for Health and Clean Air
Cellzyme Biotech from Coimbatore uses an engineered enzyme to make antibiotics at room temperature without using solvents – a main contributor to air quality. The novel production process reduces the environmental footprint by replacing harsh industrial chemicals and conserving energy.
4. Cooking with Radiant Heat
Inspired by the traditional Indian method of cooking on charcoal, Agnisumukh manufactures commercial kitchen equipment driven by innovative, energy efficient radiant heat gas burners. These ultra-efficient cooking stoves save 30% on gas, improve cooking and help beat indoor air pollution in commercial kitchens.
5. Biomedical Waste Management
There are microwaves now available in the Indian market to treat infectious waste and eliminate air emissions, including toxic POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) – toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment around the world.
The commercialization of these and other examples was fast-tracked in a joint programme of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, funded by the Global Environment Facility. Over 25 clean technology entrepreneurs that are tackling climate change and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals at large, are documented in A Compendium of Clean Technology Innovations in India.
There’s much more in the making! Current efforts are aimed to avoid the use of diesel chillers in refrigerated trucks; reduce energy and emissions from cement kilns by using radiant heat panels; improve solar water pumps, to mention a few. With just a touch of Indian ingenuity and innovation, we can keep it blue.
Though air quality has worsened, together we can still win the battle for clean air.