'Minion' buoys to city lakes' rescue

Published: 31st August 2016 05:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2016 05:50 AM   |  A+A-

Minion

BENGALURU: Twenty-five-year-olds have come to the rescue of city's highly-polluted lakes. The foaming and sporadic eruption of fire in Bellandur lake, the deaths of fishes in Hebbal and Ulsoor lakes and the festering  stench from the Vrishabhavathi River are a result of industrial wastes and public neglect according to Safeer Usman, 25, co-founder and CEO at Tetherbox Technologies, a startup that aims to reduce lake pollution.

“Lakes in the city are polluted  with toxic wastes from chemical and leather units. These effluents mix with lake water, which sets off a cascade of chemical reactions that pollutes the lakes and absorbs large amounts of oxygen,” says Usman.

This dismal situation was the impetus for the 25-year-olds Usman and Gopinath Anandan to start Tetherbox. Both studied together at SRM University, Chennai. Last March, they met the chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Lakshman and pitched their ideas.

Their product Elemento Aqua detects the reduction of oxygen levels in the lake and instructs oxygen diffusers of their partner EcoGene Tech to pump in the required oxygen into the lake, to keep it hygienic.

“The government had issued a closure notice to the industries, but they find ways to dispose of the waste in spite of this,” says Adarsh Mahajan, a 20-year-old Business Development Manager at Tetherbox.

The industrial units are managing to evade detection of pollutants because of the lack of accountability. The factories usually submit dubious data of the waste they dump in the water bodies, says Mahajan.

If such pollution of  lakes continues to prevail, Usman predicts it will affect health of people living close to these water bodies and will also result in depletion of potable water sources in the city.

Tetherbox's founders say that the industries causing pollution can also use Elemento Aqua  to detect toxicity in the waste water they dump.

It integrates hardware and cloud-based tools such as Hadoop to collect data regarding the waste levels in the water, and displays the timely fluctuations of oxygen levels. The factory officials concerned will be alerted about the status of the lakes with messages sent by the device.

Sewage treatment plants and effluent treatment plants of both residential townships and industries can monitor pollution levels in their environment using their product, says Usman.

The team has run a pilot project in Ulsoor lake, supervised by the KSPCB authorities and there are more in the anvil. “We plan to do one in Vrishabhavathi and another in Bellandur lake also introducing this technology for similar applications in Chennai,” says Usman.

He explains that with their technology, industries can detect pollution levels and collate data to figure out the unnecessary maintenance costs they incur.

Their product can also be used in other verticals such as agriculture – where inefficiency is common.

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