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Student Teams Tackle Urban Challenges

February 24, 2012 - 11:31

What can city dwellers do to mitigate some of the environmental issues that confront the world today?

“Where most people think of complex solutions, we want to begin with simple things,” shared students of the Amrita School of Business at Bengaluru.

These students recently participated in a global competition titled Sankranti Student Challenge: A Unique Community of Change Makers.

Organized by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, the competition attracted participation from 189 student teams representing the best universities worldwide including MIT, Johns Hopkins, TIFR and the IITs.

Two student teams participated from Amrita; both made it to the second round of the global competition, where they received guidance from experienced mentors so that their innovative and simple solutions could help begin the transformation urban India so desperately needs.

Alamelupriya R., Animasree B. S., Bhanupriyanka Sivala, Meghana Babu and Shilpa K.V. shared details of their participation.

“One of the main problems India is facing today is related to the energy crisis. According to the Planning Commission of India, nearly 600 million people or roughly half our population are not even connected to the electrical grid. For those who are connected, frequent load shedding is a dismal reality. It is even impossible to accurately estimate the total national shortfall in the supply of power.”

“In order to overcome the shortfall, it is necessary to find ways to avoid wastage of energy and conserve power so that India’s future can become brighter.”

“While travelling in the daytime through the city, we have often seen street lights that were not turned off. This prompted us to propose the adoption of automated street lighting systems with appropriate sensors and controllers.”

The second team consisting of Gopikrishnan, Gowtham M. K., Pradeep B., Ramkumar and Yaswanth Togaru Reddy, also elaborated on their offered solution.

“Air pollution is exponentially increasing in cities. The National Ambient Air Quality Standard for suspended particulate matter (SPM) in air is 70 micrograms per metric cube, but just last year, the SPM in our city was 202 micrograms per metric cube.”

“Government-led initiatives such as the rapid transit metro rail system for the city and the use of compressed natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicles to reduce air pollution are helping but are not enough.”

“We recommended the use of carbon filters attached to the exhaust of city vehicles. This uses activated carbon pieces to filter out contaminants and impurities, utilizing chemical adsorption, so that the exhaust air is free from harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide.”

“Our carbon filter is easy to remove and clean. Moreover it is very inexpensive and can be easily afforded by all.”

Both teams were grateful for the guidance received from teachers and parents. They mentioned how Amma’s multi-faceted initiatives to serve society ultimately inspired them.

Amma says that those who have an attitude of service towards others are the beauty of society; these students definitely fall in that category.

February 25, 2012
School of Business, Bengaluru

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