India’s state-funded helmet promises ‘clean air’ in fight against winter smog

India's state-funded helmet promises 'clean air' in fight against winter smog
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NEW DELHI, Aug 29 (Reuters) – As India’s capital, New Delhi, prepares for winter – and a season to monitor severe smog – the government said it could phase out 80% of motorcycle helmets equipped with filters and a fan at the back. of pollutants.

The state has spent thousands of dollars on Shellios Technolabs, where founder Amit Pathak began working in his basement in 2016 on what he calls the world’s first helmet.

Mid-December to February was the year when the first reports of polluted air made New Delhi almost unbreathable, as a bitter cold blanketed nearby states with smog from dust, vehicle waste and burning crop waste.

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“One can have an air purifier at home or in the office,” says Pathak, an electrical engineer. “But the guys on the bikes, they have no protection.”

So his company developed a helmet with a replaceable filter membrane and an air cleaner unit equipped with a six-hour battery and a fan that can be charged via a microUSB port.

The helmet went on sale in 2019, and tests by an independent lab on the streets of New Delhi confirmed it could keep more than 80% of pollutants out of users’ nostrils, Pathak added.

A 2019 test report seen by Reuters showed that lung-damaging PM 2.5 air particles fell from 43.1 micrograms per cubic meter outside to 8.1 micrograms per cubic meter.

India’s Ministry of Science and Technology says the helmet offers a “breath of fresh air for cyclists”. In a country that is home to 35 of the world’s 50 worst countries, it may not come soon enough. polluted cities last year.

Pathak sees a huge opportunity amid annual demand for 30 million helmets, but declined to disclose production or sales figures.

Each helmet costs 4,500 rupees ($56), or about four times the price of a regular one, putting the device out of reach for many riders in India.

At 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) heavier than existing devices, Shellios collaborated with a major manufacturer to develop a lighter version made of thermoplastic material rather than fiberglass, which would reduce costs.

The new version is expected to be released in a few months.

Pathak said the company has also received interest from Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

($1=Rs 79.8210)

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Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Additional reporting by Anushree Fadnavis and Sunil Kataria; Edited by Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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