For 48-year-old Wharton graduate, Jai Dhar, Delhi’s polluted air became not just a source of deep physical pain but also a reason to start a company focussing on managing the toxic air. “I am perhaps the most well-documented victim of air pollution in India,” he says to The Better India.
Jai describes himself as an “air safety activist” and is also the founder of a citizen action group, called My Right To Breathe. Speaking about the importance of taking in good clean air, he says, “While we place so much emphasis on eating well and consuming good clean water, we forget about the air we take in.”
On an average one consumes up to 12 litres of water every day but when it comes to air, it is almost 12,000 litres a day. And yet, Jai says, that we seem to be oblivious of the harm toxic air can cause to our bodies. “Isn’t it time to get conscious and aware of the air we are taking in?” he asks.
As an avid runner, Jai would often train outdoors and it was during these runs that he started feeling the toxicity in the National Capital’s air.
“When sedentary, one generally intakes about 7-10 litres of air per minute. However, while running, the intake increases to 150 litres a minute. This air is being pulled deeper while running and therefore those who lead an active life are in a much graver danger of air pollution,” he says.
While the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Jai says that air pollution is the bigger issue. Though, its side effects might be slow to appear. “With every breath, it is taking you down,” he says. In 2015, Jai incorporated a company, called Nirvana Being, which started with manufacturing masks to combat the air pollution, specifically in the Delhi/NCR region and also other cities and countries grappling with this issue.
According to the State of Global Air 2019 report, long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to over 1.67 million annual deaths, across all age groups, from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases in India.
From very specialised masks with the highest certifications for general everyday use to sports masks with a higher surface area for better breathing capability, the company has products that are globally certified. Speaking about the certification, Jai says, “Ours are the only masks certified by Nelson Labs, USA, with 95 per cent to 99 per cent viral filtration efficiency, reusable, and washable.”
Nelson Labs, a leading global provider of laboratory testing and expert advisory services for MedTech and pharmaceutical companies based in the United States, in its test report says, “The Viral Filtration Efficiency (VFE) test is performed to determine the filtration efficiency of test articles by comparing the viral control counts upstream of the test article to the counts downstream.”
The Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) test on the other hand is performed on filtration materials and devices that are designed to provide protection against biological aerosols, such as face masks, surgical gowns, caps, and air filters.
The report further states that all test method acceptance criteria were met. Testing was performed in compliance with US FDA good manufacturing practice (GMP) regulations 21 CFR Parts 210, 211, and 820. The products being sold by Nirvana Being are all tested by this lab and have the necessary certificate of efficiency as well.
One of the new products introduced by the company is the Nanotech AC Filter, which is aimed at both bacterial and viral filtration efficiency. “This filter can be added to your existing split AC to remove viruses and bacteria with over 99.7 per cent efficiency, and also helps tackle PM 2.5 with a more than 96 per cent efficiency. What this filter effectively does is play the role of an air steriliser,” says Jai.
“The rise in air pollution and COVID-19 across cities in India has fuelled the demand for air purifiers for indoor usage. However, the steep price of air purifiers is a major deterrent for buyers. This product has been created keeping limited household budgets in mind. This pocket-friendly and DIY solution for households, offices, clinics and commercial spaces,” says Jai.
How Does It Work?
Installing this filter into your existing split air conditioner is a simple process that can be done without the need for any external installation process.
- Open the front cover of your wall-mounted AC.
- Remove and clean the existing filtering screen.
- Place the AC filters vertically onto the centre of the screens allowing gaps on each side.
- They cover about 80 per cent of the existing filtering screen for optimal airflow.
- Use the double-faced adhesive tape to attach the top of the filter to the screen and fold the bottom behind the screen.
- Install the screen with AC filters back into the air conditioner.
Things to know
- The filters can be used with split ACs of any brand and tonnage.
- Each packet contains filters for 2 split ACs.
- Life of each filter is estimated at 200-500 hours based on the AQI conditions.
Available at Rs 1195 for two filters, you can buy the product on various retail outlets online or log into the Nirvana Being website to make a purchase.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)