Dustmandu No More! Nepali Startup Comes Up With Innovative Solution to Tackle Capital’s Dust Debacle

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Dustmandu No More! Nepali Startup Comes Up With Innovative Solution to Tackle Capital’s Dust Debacle

Source: Bijay Rai/Republica

Most people in Kathmandu have become used to being covered from head to toe in dust at the end of a long day out in the valley. They have resigned to the fact that their lungs are being irrevocably damaged by the alarming amount of air pollution in Kathmandu, the 7th most polluted city in the world. But the founders of BrainFast Technologies Private Limited sought to find an innovative solution for the problem, and thus have come up with a technology which could end the capital’s long standing pollution problem.

The solution, developed by founders Ashish Tamrakar, Shristi Pandey, and Deepak Chaudhary, is based on the electrically charged ions technology. 2 foot long devices with an electrode, which could be easily installed on telephone poles, will emit positive ions into the air. These ions will attach themselves to fine dust particles. Finally, the fine dust particles will be collected on a negatively charged surface on the device, significantly reducing the amount of dust surrounding the device. The team have aptly named the technology “Dust Buster”.

Dust Buster was inspired by a similar solution adopted in China, which the founders had heard about last year. Chaudhary, a graduate from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, recounts, “We were all so frustrated by what was happening to our beloved city. Then Shristi heard about a device that the Chinese were using to collect smog in their extremely polluted cities and to convert the collected carbon particles into diamonds. A bulb went over our heads, and we have been working to bring this solution to Nepal ever since.” The device Chaudhary was talking about had been developed by a Dutch company, Studio Roosegaarde, and it has generated a fair amount of excitement and results in China.

Source: Ekantipur.com

Tamrakar, who graduated from Pulchowk Engineering Campus 3 years ago and who has been the main spearhead behind Dust Buster, said that the technology could also be adopted to produce bricks. He says that “The concentration of smaller particulate PM 2.5 matters at 98 µg/m3 in Kathmandu. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards set limits at 40µg/m3 for PM 2.5. If we were able to fit the Dust Buster devices at 100 poles in the most polluted locations in the city, in a month’s time we could collect enough dust particles to make a substantial number of bricks.”

Pandey, who studied Environmental Science at Kathmandu University, said that his team had been working closely with the Department of Urban Planning and Building Construction to test the devices. In the past 2 months, he informed us that several devices were being tested in Boudha. “The results have been really encouraging. We are working to solve the problems that we had encountered and to make the devices more efficient.”

With a huge scale and growth potential, there has been a lot of interest in BrainFast Technologies and its Dust Buster technology. All the prominent investment companies have been in touch with Tamarakar and his team, but the most significant interest has been from billionaire philanthropist Binod Chaudhary. Tamarakar revealed that he had been fortunate enough to meet Mr. Chaudhary a couple of times already.

However the most significant offer BrainFast has received is from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. With an initial offer of 10 Million USD, Zuckerberg also proposed to install a miniature internet device on every Dust Buster device that gets installed, to provide free internet access to its surrounding. Pandey admitted that they were tempted by Zuckerberg’s offer, but said that they did not proceed with further discussions because of their stance on net neutrality.

Meanwhile the team is looking for a face for the new “Dust-free Kathmandu” campaign, a bid to attract international tourists who might have been deterred by Kathmandu’s distasteful new reputation. The Ma-Ha Jodi and Anamol K.C, among others, are in talks for the campaign, but the team is hopeful of securing Shah Rukh Khan. The team also encouraged anyone who is interested to be the face of this campaign to apply. So if you want to be the face of “Dust-free Kathmandu”, email your photograph to thisisajoke@dustbusterisnotreal.com.


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Guest Tuesday, 18 January 2022