Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Shirin Gupta 28th September 2020
In these trying times of global health emergency, the issue of other environmental matters has been relatively sidelined. Shockingly, the struggle of reducing plastic waste has been shelved during the pandemic with the heavy use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits that are made of plastic.
As the PPE kits are only for one-time use, there is a growing concern for the noticeable surge in plastic waste. As reported by the Times of India, four students from Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) came up with a ‘hybrid bio hazmat suit’ as a part of the ‘Manipal COVID Challenge’ organised by the Innovation Centre, MAHE.
Among all the self-protective innovations, the hazmat suit designed by the team lead by Noyal Babu PS bagged the first place. The team included team members — Noyal Babu PS, a second-year student of Nuclear Medicine, Manipal College of Health Professions; Ajil Saji, a third-year student of Nuclear Medicine, Manipal College of Health Professions; Varun Suresh, a third-year student of MBBS, Kasturba Medical College, and Suraj PN, a fourth-year student of engineering, Manipal Institute of Technology.
When asked to describe the hazmat suit in an interview with Times of India, the team leader Noyal, spoke with delight, “Realising that there is no effective eco-friendly PPE kit, our team worked on a prototype. The hybrid bio hazmat suit, a coverall gown is lightweight and prepared from a plant-based biodegradable polymer and is easily disposable.”
While speaking with Times of India, Noyal also mentioned, “Each gown is expected to cost around rupees two hundred. It comes with a specially designed respirator that can be attached inside the PPE kit. The coverall was tested by a few healthcare workers in KMC Hospital to check the comfort and quality. The users’ feedback stated that they were satisfied with the design and comfort of the PPE kit after using it for five hours.”
The team is also very thankful to their project mentors Dr, Shivanand Bhushan and Sibi Oommen from Manipal College of Health Professions. Mr Arun Shanbagh, Chief Innovations Officer, MAHE when asked to say something about the achievement of the students commented that the students had started working amidst the lockdown in April. Yet, they managed to connect, form teams, come up with novel solutions and execute these solutions in the form of prototypes. He mentioned that the Innovation Centre is all in to help the students in their journey.
MAHE has stated that their goal is to reduce the environmental hazard to fulfil the Prime Minister’s ‘Atma Nirbhar – Self Reliance’ initiative. This ‘Bio Hazmat suit’ prototype is a great place to start for the institution.
(Source: Times of India, MIT Post)
Edited by Meghna Venkatesh