As the air quality in Delhi drops to an all-time low thanks to smog and is being likened to smoking 50 cigarettes a day, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has declared a public health emergency. Schools and colleges across Delhi/NCR have been asked to remain shut until Sunday, children are being asked to stay at home, and schools have suspended all outdoor sports activities.
The situation is grim.
Khyati Babani, a resident of Gurugram and mother to a 3-year-old, says, “My daughter has been unwell for more than a week now. During my visits to the doctor, I am told that her cough is because of the pollution.”
“My sinus allergy is at its peak as well. The climate and the environment are just not good for anyone.”
Khyati, like many others residing in Delhi/NCR, is agitated about the situation and urges all of us to do our bit in ensuring that it does not worsen. While individuals can take steps such as planting more trees, using public transport, and not smoking in public, the need of the hour is for something far more significant, that will have a large-scale impact.
Watching a TED talk by Daan Roosegaarde, a 38-year-old Dutch innovator left me with the hope that things could get better. Daan uses technology and creative thinking to produce imaginative, earth-friendly designs.
His latest project could well be the answer that we are looking for to clean up our cities and make them breathable again.
Daan and his team of experts have created the world’s largest smog vacuum cleaner. Yes, you read that right! This vacuum cleaner is 7-meters (23 feet) tall and uses patented positive ionisation technology to produce smog-free air in public spaces, allowing people to breathe clean air. It is equipped with environment-friendly technology, cleans 30,000 m3 per hour and uses the same amount of electricity as water boiler (1170 watts).
Explaining how this smog vacuum cleaner works, Daan says, “Basically, it’s like when you have a plastic balloon, and you polish it with your hand, it becomes static, electrically charged, and it attracts your hair. Instead of hair, the tower attracts smog particles, which look like black dust,” as reported in the Huffington Post.
Applying the same theory to bicycles, Daan has worked on his next innovation — a smog-free bicycle. The bicycle will feature a front-facing module that inhales polluted air, cleans it, and the releases clean air around the cyclist.
Daan believes that this will address two issues that developing countries like China and India face — pollution and congestion.
Daan is the first to admit that a tower or cycles will not solve the pollution problem of a whole city. Speaking to The Hindu he says, “True solutions need to target the causes, like India declaring that it is looking at an electric car fleet by 2030, but such initiatives take a long time to implement. I feel bottom-up projects are powerful, as they trigger people to participate, to work together to improve life,” he says, adding, “For most millennials, true luxury is not about a Louis Vuitton bag or an expensive watch, but clean air, water and energy. I want to be part of that movement; I want to speed up that movement.”
Given the current situation of helplessness, one feels being a resident of Delhi/NCR, any and all steps that help towards reducing the pollution level are welcome.
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