Converting stubble into eco-friendly pots

By: Mohit Bansal

Air pollution has now been embedded in the lives of every Delhiite. The record-breaking pollution levels have impacted the lives of every new-born to the 80-year-old asthmatic. According to a report released by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute, if pollution levels in the capital adhered to the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, a typical Delhiite would live 10 years longer. 

The coronavirus pandemic has not been merciful to anyone and the pollution in Delhi has elevated the health risk of Delhiites to unprecedented levels. People often decipher air pollution as a normal phenomenon, but it’s much worse than even the coronavirus pandemic. Deaths due to COVID-19, till 29th December, float at around 1.77 million, air pollution on the other hand takes 5 million lives every year. I am in no manner saying COVID is a normal flu, but my point is that air pollution if not more, should be taken equally seriously.

One of the prime reasons for Delhi’s dreadful situation is due to the annual stubble burning. The share of stubble burning in Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution was 40% till November 2020. While outdoor air pollution seems bad, indoor air pollution can be 2-5 times worse and the worst part is that we spend most of our time indoors.

The impact on physical and mental health due to air pollution is immense but by taking some simple daily steps, we can reduce the impact of air pollution. Firstly, Ventilation. It is an important means of achieving good indoor air quality in buildings, as it removes or dilutes pollution and moisture. Secondly, having a separate pair of shoes/sandals for outdoor and indoor use. Next, get rid of odours; don’t mask them.

Most people try to avoid indoor odors by masking them with artificial fragrances and air fresheners.  Another easy way is to remove carpeting if possible. Use charcoal bags in your cars and air purifying plants in closed spaces to control air pollution. Wear masks when you go out or when you travel.

These were some everyday tips, but pollution in India is so severe that these alone cannot clear all unwanted things out of your home. These are some bare minimum things that we request everyone to follow. To have a better indoor environment, we must invest in indoor plants and air purifiers. 

As stubble burning is a critical problem causing huge air pollution, we, at Pravaah, had set our goal to help eliminate this. While analysing existing solutions, we found out the ex-situ and in-situ methods of stubble management had various flaws. In-situ solutions caused problems to the farmers in the next crop season while ex-situ solutions caused environmental damage. Seeking a perfect solution, we, with our knowledge partner-Deutec (Mr. Bipin Bhaskaran Nair), identified a method that takes the best of both in-situ and ex-situ techniques, the pseudo-in-situ method.

Stubble from the field is extracted and, with the help of Deutec’s technology, we convert them into pots. These pots provide the necessary nutrients to the plant for its growth and development. Manufacturing these pots by upcycling stubble is one of the best solutions for stubble burning and keeping your plants greener, that’s one shot for two birds!

Air purifying plants testified by NASA work well in trapping VOCs, but are inefficient while eliminating particulate matter, a huge component of indoor air pollution. Investing in an air purifier has therefore become a necessity. The majority of air purifiers range anywhere between Rs. 13,000 to Rs.1,50,000, making them unaffordable for most of the Indian households. Pravaah, with its holistic value offering, provides an air purifier with a triple- layered filter technology consisting of a pre-filter, an activated carbon filter, and an H13 HEPA filter.

The purifier has an efficiency of 92% and is at par with various air purifiers in the market and is priced at just 3999/- and the Pravaah pots cost 129/- per pot but if you buy 4 or more you get it for 99/- each. Pravaah offers its air purifier, indoor air purifying plants and stubble pots at an affordable price so that maximum people can prevent themselves from air pollution and live a healthy and happy life.

(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

Mohit Bansal

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