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Monday, September 05, 2016

Why Asthamatics Will Love Ecomappers – A Pollution Mapping Kit?

The word ‘pollution’ is on everyone’s lips and minds. But Dhiraj Gehlot admits that ­”we really wanted to do something about it, instead of complaining. We thought if we tell people about the pollution levels in their locality, they will start taking steps to reduce it, to save themselves”. He is Chief Project Innovator at RiiDL and a student at the KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, and he has come up with Ecomappers – a product that is related to pollution mapping and effective solutions for the same.
Dhiraj explained to Networked India, “We have designed a pollution mapping kit. We display data of parameters like CO, NO2, dust, noise, temperature and humidity, real-­time on our website, which has a Google maps interface. The kit is so well designed that it can be mounted above the street light, traffic light, in a housing society and/or in a home for personal use.”
The kit collects the data from the sensors and uploads the values on Google, rated on a scale of 1 to 10 on the basis of data and standards defined by the Pollution Control Board. We can compare two different areas on the basis of data collected – say pollution levels of Mumbai and New York.”
Along with mapping, Dhiraj’s team is also providing solutions like meshed window nets to purify air, fresh air mask, vertical vegetation and other such solutions to reduce pollution levels. He says they are gathering details of plants, which are more helpful in clearing dust and pollution from the air. With this information, they will come up with an algorithm that will suggest the right number of trees that need to be planted to keep the pollution level to a minimum.
He has faced challenges when designing this product. One major problem was financing. He said, “We bootstrapped the initial capital by pitching this idea at various competitions and with the prize money, we developed our first prototype. Calibration of sensors was another major issue we faced. But we somehow got meters (like noise, temperature and humidity meters from the environment department of colleges) and used them, to calibrate our sensors.”
The end result is that, the kit he has developed makes people aware about pollution and empowers them with solutions to avoid the pollution. For instance, an asthmatic person can plan his/her travel time and route to any destination, depending on the level of air pollution. He said, “Our mobile app provides details of pollution parameters like carbon monoxide, dust, etc. in a pictorial format, which is easy to understand. There are solutions which people can buy on our app and website.” See how the kit works here.
Even government organisations, like the state government Pollution Control Boards require data from his kits, for analysing the pollution level at ground level. He is obviously meeting a timely need because as Dhiraj says, “Currently there are no kits in India, which can be mounted on street lights. Also, real-time pollution data of (CO, Radiation, NOX, SOX, dust, noise, temperature, and humidity) can be logged using a single kit.”
Real estate developers and city planners can use the kit to understand the amount of pollution and compare their townships, by giving them ratings. This will encourage real estate developers to build green buildings.
He has successfully implemented a second prototype and will be soon launching a new website and mobile app for users. All-in-all, he is pleased with the recognition and awards he has received for his work, which proves that he is on the right track and is “doing good for the improvement of our society.”

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