Give plastic waste and get clean water

Shilpa.K. Nayana with the first water filter she set up at VSSC, Thiruvananthapuram.  

People of four grama panchayats and a municipality in Kozhikode district will soon be able to get clean drinking water in exchange for plastic waste. The innovative project titled Project Jalam, which has won several awards and accolades across the world, is being implemented by a start-up, Dime Klear, as a pilot project in Olavanna, Perumanna, Kadalundi and Moodadi panchayats besides Koyilandy municipality. The project will take off in Olavanna in the first week of October.

The technology behind Project Jalam was developed by Shilpa.K. Nayana, a management student of NITK, Surathkal, and a native of Kozhikode, when she was a student of engineering in Thiruvananthapuram. Shilpa had received support from the Indian Space Research Organisation for the project and the first successful model was set up at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

She recently launched Dime Klear in partnership with her friend Yadu Krishnan, a postgraduate in marketing from the University of Hyderabad. Their team consists of 10 members, all graduates from premier educational institutions in the country.

A model of the water filter being used under Project Jalam.

A model of the water filter being used under Project Jalam.  

Project Jalam is a low-cost technology that is being used at household level as well as community level. “The filter was developed using nano technology and has been found to be effective in eliminating harmful bacteria and chemicals as well as desalination. The working cost is as low as ₹2 per 20 litres,” Ms. Shilpa said.

First developed to tackle water contamination in the aftermath of the 2018 floods, Dime Klear wants it to be beneficial to people from the lower strata of society. “We can set up filters in every household if they can afford it. Or else, a community filter can be set up for a group to 10 to 30 houses,” she said.

Key feature

However, the most attractive feature of the project is that beneficiaries need not pay for it if they can provide used plastic. “The cost of the plastic waste will be added to their account and will be deducted later based on the usage of water from the filter. But there is also an option to pay with money,” Ms. Shilpa said adding that the collected plastic waste would be recycled and converted into T-shirts, in association with another firm.

The project comes out as a solution to two major issues faced by local governments these days — waste management and pure drinking water. To its credit, Dime Klear has won the Best Start Up 2020 award in Agriculture and Technology from NABARD and is the regional winner of United Nations’ Hult Prize, which is known as the StartUp Nobel. Besides, the team is to represent India in the World Water Race 2021 to be held in California, USA, to discuss and resolve water issues of the world.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 10:48:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/give-plastic-waste-and-get-clean-water/article32669640.ece

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