Of all the major global problems which pose threat to the well being of millions of people, air pollution definitely tops the list. According to a World Health Organization(WHO) report, more than seven million premature deaths annually are linked to Air pollution. This staggering figure exposes our inefficiency in tackling this global phenomenon.
While the global leaders will come up with more policies to tackle air pollution and climate change later this month in the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, it is important to come up with innovative solutions in order to enable individuals to tackle this menace on their own.
Airinum is a recently launched Swedish Startup which has come up with a stylish mask to tackle air pollution . Airinum was founded by Mehdi Rejraji,Alexander, Johannes and Fredrik earlier this year. These young entrepreneurs are from Europe and gather diverse background in operations, e-commerce, marketing and electronics and computer science.
It all started when Mehdi and Alexander came to study in IIM-Ahmedabad as exchange students. While staying in Ahmedabad, Alexander’s asthma resurfaced and they decided to come up with a solution to tackle air pollution and decided to the school project on the same topic.
One of the action points that emerged from their project was to provide a better solution for people who wish to protect their health by significantly improving the air pollution masks currently available in the market. It had to protect better, look better, and be more comfortable to wear. They realized that even though a lot of people were aware of the adverse effects of air pollution, people didn’t want to wear masks because they were either bad looking or didn’t fit right.
“When reviewing civil masks available for purchase we realized they had a really poor sealing to the face and thus were sometimes close to useless. So we conducted an independent testing on the fit factor of our mask versus the average fit factor achieved by the masks publicly available. We achieved a Fit Factor that is on an average six times more important than the civil masks available right now. We’ll receive the signed certificate in a few days” said Mehdi Rejaraji to TOS.
When asked about the filtering technology used, Mehdi said that the filter used in their product has more than 99% efficiency against airborne particles. “We are using Electrostatic fiber and microfiber which gives electrostatic and mechanical protection against PM2.5 and PM10. Also, activated carbon filters ultrafine particles (<0.1 micrometer) and hydrocarbon gases (methane, propane, etc.)” he added.
Airinum is a part of of the STING Accelerator Program (Stockholm Innovation & Growth) and one of the Sweden’s most reputed incubator SUP46. They started their Kickstarter campaign on 23rd of November and were hundred percent funded within twenty four hours.
With growing affluence in countries like India and China, one can witness a spate of cars in cities like New Delhi or Beijing. Last Six months of Air quality index(AQI) values for 11 Indian cities released by the Indian government show that Delhi and the rest of north India have higher particulate matter levels and cities such as Chennai find high concentrations of other toxic pollutants including Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. While the governments are doing their bit to address this challenge, individuals too need to take necessary measures to protect themselves in high pollution zones.