IIT-Delhi professor, ex-students design mask to block out pollutants

Reports suggest the air quality in the National Capital has been better during this time of the year when compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

Published: 03rd December 2018 05:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2018 07:51 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi air

Smog covers Delhi’s skyline on Friday morning. The city has been battling air pollution with the onset of winter (Photo | EPS/Shekhar Yadav)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Reports suggest the air quality in the National Capital has been better during this time of the year when compared to the corresponding period in 2017. However, residents have had no respite from the pollution with the Air Quality Index (AQI) for the city consistently remaining in the ‘very poor’ category over the past few weeks.

At such a time, former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi students and a professor have designed a nanotechnology-based mask to prevent pollutants from entering the respiratory system.

“The pores of the mask are very small and even pollutants classified as PM 2.5 and PM 10 cannot enter through it. Also, the surface of the mask is lined with a chemical due to which these pollution-causing particles will remain stuck to the mask,” Professor Ashwini Agarwal said.

Agarwal explained the chemical lining will aid in cleaning the mask and will be easy to use. “The surface of the mask can be cleaned off the pollutants even with a normal cloth and hence there is practically no maintenance cost attached to the product,” the IIT-D professor said and added the mask can be used at home as well.

Underlining the importance of wearing masks at home, Deputy Director of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Radha Goyal said, “The density of pollutants in our homes is the maximum but we generally tend to overlook that. We feel safe at home but in reality, it is not the case,” she said.

Agarwal was assisted by Manjeet Jhappar, Prateek Sharma, Tushar Vyas and Jiten Kewlani in the project and said the masks would be available at a nominal cost in the market once the production feasibility is worked out.

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