New Delhi has air quality index of 313, which is very poor

Dear Delhi here is some love from IIT Madras cheap air purifiersImage: west Delhi, Flickr/ jepoirrier
news Sunday, December 27, 2015 - 17:45

Who knows, today you might be breathing-in carcinogens, tomorrow it could be construction dust. Even if you lived under a rock, you would have definitely heard through echoes about the pollution in New Delhi.

While India’s capital is gasping for some clean air and those who can afford it are buying air purifiers by the loads, researchers at IIT Madras have come out with an affordable and efficient air purifier. In fact this could be the best New Year gift to many cities in India as 2014 World Health Organisation report reveals that 11 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.

Associate professor at Department of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at IIT (M) S M Shiva Nagendra and a few other research scholars from the department had been working on the air purifier for the last 3 years.

Shiva Nagendra, who has been studying subject of air pollution for almost 15 years, said that India’s urban and rural population equally suffers from pollution.

He told The News Minute that while the purifier that uses only 15 watts of power, can be fit in any environment, its true potential would be known to people living or working near paint shops and houses facing roads that have heavy traffic movement.

“Microbial matter that pet carry affects breathing and health. The machine is designed in such a way that it picks up those particles too releasing only ambient air,” said Nagendra.

“This has been made keeping in mind the increasing cases of asthma and lung ailments in people today,” he said.

The purifier functions on a three-layer technology which is also used in water purifiers. The air, which sucked in by a fan attached to the bottom of a stainless steel cylindrical body, is transferred to a bag made of muslin fabric that filters large particles like dust. The air is again passed through activated charcoal which is kept in a bag. This absorbs pollutants including chemicals and microscopic particles, reported TOI.

“The high surface area of the charcoal, which contains a lot of pores, enables it to collect more dust particles and larger ones too,” he said.

Nagendra said they have not zeroed down on a price for the purifier. However, he said it would be low-cost as they use commonly available materials like activated charcoal and ultra-violet light.

He refused to comment on the maintenance part of it as the product itself is undergoing various tests for validation.

When asked how he plans on upgrading the product, Nagendra said that they might make the product GPS-enabled to inform if there is a rise in dust or smoke at home and also have a fire sensor.  

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