As India gears up for one of its most popular festivals, the fear of the accompanying toxic air pollution is the only dampener. But entrepreneur Prateek Sharma, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi, has made his fight against air pollution personal and won with Nasofilters, an innovative and cost-effective air filter device.
Thanks to Nasofilters, a nasal respiratory filter that Prateek dreamed up and developed, we can now breathe easy this festival season and look good in the process.
Priced at just Rs 10 a device, Nasofilters was developed by a team from IIT Delhi. It is the first commercial product by Delhi-based Nanoclean, which Prateek founded with Tushar Vyas and Jatin Kewlani.
The affordable nasal filter has another major advantage: it is not conspicuous – unlike the rather large traditional face masks typically found in the market. Users simply have to cover their nostrils with the nearly transparent filter and wear this for up to eight hours.
What’s more, the filter is 95 percent effective in fighting the air pollution that is rampant across Indian cities, particularly at this time of the year.
The USP of Nasofilters
“The basic USP of these filters is that these are the filters that are very comfortable, they are very good looking in terms of aesthetics and they are very much affordable,” says Prateek. His Nanoclean was recently announced as the winner of Facebook ‘Building for the World’ award, which recognises startups working on solutions that are being used on a global scale.
The original idea for the product was borne from a need Prateek saw in his own home. His mother was an asthma patient and he grew up trying to get hold of the best products available in the market for her to fight pollutants. The other devices available at the time were either too large and tended to cover her face, as was the case with the face masks, or they were uncomfortable as was the case with the nose buds that had to be inserted into the nostrils.
“So, the problem statements were there in front of me. That is, one problem is covering the face and the other product is inserted inside the nostrils. The solution to both the problems is actually Nasofilters, which I’m wearing on my nose,” says Prateek, as he points to the rather inconspicuous filter on his nostril.
Respite from air pollution this Diwali
Hailing from the western part of Rajasthan, Prateek, who is only too familiar with the dust storms in the region, saw an even greater need to create a product that was effective in fighting pollutants and was affordable, without being conspicuous like the other products in the market.
Nasofilters was, hence, developed using nanotechnology, which ensures there is minimal pressure drop while breathing and allows ease of breathing when wearing the respiratory mask. Prateek and his team created nano fibres by reducing the thread diameter of a normal fabric by 100 times to filter out pollutants.
Many cities in India are today reeling from deteriorating air quality. For example, the Central Pollution Control Board revealed recently that cities from south to north India, including Delhi, Lucknow and Kanpur, are experiencing a decline in air quality.
In the wake of such news, Nasofilters is set to provide some much-needed respite for all Indians this Diwali season.