Water may be one of the basic essentials of life, but access to clean drinking water remains a challenge for countless Indians. Pollution and rampant scarcity of this precious resource, coupled with expensive purification systems, makes safe drinking water difficult to avail. But a cost-effective solution is afoot in Karnataka and it promises to make drinking water available to everyone.
Niranjan Karagi, an engineering student from the state’s Belgaum district, has developed Nirnal, a water purifier that costs a mere Rs. 20.
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A final-year student of Angadi Institute of Technology & Management, Niranjan was motivated by the sight of children filling their empty plastic bottles with unpurified tap water near his home. He often created technologically-driven projects during his college days, and came up with the idea for a low-cost, portable water purifier.
“I filtered some water and sent it for preliminary testing,” Niranjan says. “The results were good.”
Feeling encouraged, Niranjan launched the product with support from Sandbox Startup, a business incubator, and Deshpande Foundation’s Leader Acceleration Development (LEAD) programme.
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Nirnal is crafted from activated carbon, cotton, and mesh in a plastic-like covering. It fits easily inside small pet bottles, making it handy for travel.
Since its launch in 2016, Nirnal has sold over 7,000 units primarily among the region’s farmers, poor families, and in government schools and colleges. “Regular water filters are very expensive,” Niranjan says. “It was important for me to keep the pricing at a minimum so that the poor can buy it.”
Encouraged by business enquiries and positive feedback from customers, Niranjan is setting his goals high. “I want to reach out to the Karnataka government so that they can distribute it to school children for free, along with school supplies,” he says. Niranjan hopes that with the right support his initiative will ensure that everyone has clean water to drink.
To get in touch with Niranjan for sponsorships or funding, click here.