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How Start-ups are Making Money Out of Thin Air With many entrepreneurs eager to find new ways for improving air quality, the air pollution control technologies could become a huge business opportunity in coming years.

By Nidhi Singh

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The rising air pollution level in India's national capital Delhi has raised health and environment concerns. Many metro cities are also facing worst air quality and smog situation that is slowly choking its own citizens. According to a recent Greenpeace India report, out of 630 million close to 550 million people live in areas exceeding national standards for PM10, including 180 million living in areas where air pollution levels are more than twice the stipulated limit of 60g/m3which has been set by Central Pollution Control Board. Particulate matter (PM10) pollution consists of very small liquid and solid particles floating in the air. It is among the most harmful air pollutants.

Many startups in India are working on various models to prevent, control and reduce polluted air. With many entrepreneurs eager to find new ways for improving air quality, the air pollution control technologies could become a huge business opportunity in the coming years.

Entrepreneur India lists out a few Indian startups that are doing their best to provide unique solutions to India's increasing air pollution problem.

Understand Air Quality Issues Better:

Delhi-based Kaiterra creates highly-accurate monitors that measure a variety of air pollutants, for consumers, businesses and industrial use. These devices allow users to better understand their own air quality, while simultaneously sending a constant stream of pollutant data to the cloud, which is processed, then combined with data from official monitoring stations, satellites and other sources, to create maps of outdoor air quality.

Nita Soans CEO Kaiterra India emphasized that the global impact of air pollution on human life has often been measured as higher than HIV/AIDS, Malaria and traffic accidents combined.

"Our company is focused on fixing this problem, both immediately for individuals, and in the slightly longer-term for society as a whole. Our driving force and mission is to remove air pollution, and improve the environment around us," shared Soans.

Trace Air Pollution Levels:

Another Delhi-based start-up PerSapien was born out of a mission to protect people's health from growing environmental adversities. The founding team includes scientists, doctors, engineers from Stanford University, AIIMS, IIT and other international Universities, who deeply felt the need to act quickly to save human lives. The call was strong enough that they gave up their high paying settled careers to plunge into the unchartered territory of entrepreneurship. To empower people with the 'Right to Breath' pure air, they invented 'Airlens'. It is a novel, nasal-air-purification device that effectively filters out harmful pollutants like PM 2.5, PM 10, harmful gases etc. from the inhaling air. The second component of Airlens is Airlens Data' app which provides personal-level (hyperlocal) Air Quality Index (AQI) with protection tracking feature.

According to Dr. Shashi Ranjan, Director, PerSapien Innovations, the main challenge was to ensure that the device should be comfortable to breathe through without any suffocation. Hence the team invented a new technology, 'Active Molecular air purification Technology'.

"The product is very comfortable for daily use and is validated through relevant medical safety and other certifications including, ISO biocompatibility, CE certification," said Dr. Ranjan.

A Low-cost Solution to Eliminate Air Pollution:

Delhi-based Social Enterprise Smart Air is taking the concept of purifiers down to its basics, by only providing most important and viable solution, i.e. HEPA and activated carbon to eliminate air pollution in indoor spaces. The startup provides affordable air purifiers as a low-cost solution to indoor particulate air pollution menace in India, China, Mongolia.

Ashutosh Thakur, Co-founder, Smart Air Filters India said that the start-up focuses on air pollution because it's the most basic necessity and most of the air purifiers are not within the range of common man.

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .

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