By Arré Bench Jul. 15, 2020
The high rate of discarding face masks has led to a huge uptick in biomedical waste worldwide. But last week, an IIT-Delhi-incubated start-up, Chakr Innovation, made a significant step toward tackling the problem of biomedical waste by inventing a machine to decontaminate N95 face masks and make them reusable once again.
Face masks have become the most important accessory to every outfit in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed how we behave in public, with social distancing and wearing masks being two of the most sweeping changes. However, unlike a pair of denim jeans, protective face masks can’t be kept around until they are faded and ripped. The high rate of discarding masks by civilians as well as medical professionals has led to a huge uptick in biomedical waste worldwide, an unfortunate side-effect of the safety measures to protect the world’s population from Covid-19. Last week, an IIT-Delhi-incubated start-up made a significant step toward tackling the problem of biomedical waste by inventing a machine(Chakr DeCoV) to decontaminate N95 face masks and make them reusable once again.
IIT Delhi incubated cleantech startup, Chakr Innovation, has developed Chakr DeCoV, an ozone-based decontamination device to enable safe reuse of N95 masks. pic.twitter.com/Zl7oqhaFcK
— The Logical Indian (@LogicalIndians) July 12, 2020
The start-up is Chakr Innovation, and they launched their decontamination machine last week, on Friday, 10 July. Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, was present at the launch. The machine is called Chakr DeCov, and it uses an ozone-based decontamination process to enable safe reuse of the N95 masks. “Proper dosage and exposure of Ozone can result in inactivation of SARS CoV-2 and a 99.9999% reduction in bacterial load, after which an N95 mask can be re-used for up to 10 times without any impact on the filtration efficiency,” said Tushar Batham, vice-president of engineering at Chakr Innovation, in a report.
Designed in the shape of a cabinet, Chakr DeCoV is built with an innovative decontamination mechanism, which utilises the high penetrability of Ozone gas for cleaning the pores of the N95 mask, ensuring complete decontamination of its intricate layers. pic.twitter.com/nsYjaeyAHs
— DD India (@DDIndialive) July 10, 2020
Discarded face masks, along with the other Personal Protective Equipment needed to fight Covid-19, are quickly causing problems for waste management across India. Waste processing plants in cities like Pune have been overwhelmed by the increase in the load of biomedical waste during the pandemic. A machine like Chakr DeCov is an important tool in making the high environmental cost of the pandemic slightly more sustainable.
Kudos to @ChakrInnovation for developing Chakr DeCoV. This product can greatly help in reducing wastage & keep the environment clean while strengthening India’s #FightAgainstCorona. I congratulate @iitdelhi & the team for their efforts. @AICTE_INDIA @HRDMinistry https://t.co/yrmgH5rGaU
— Sanjay Dhotre (@SanjayDhotreMP) July 10, 2020
While Covid-19 has necessitated a complete overhaul of our lifestyle, it can also lead to positive developments like Chakr Innovation’s decontamination machine, since necessity is the mother of invention.