Startups are helping to clean the Ganga River

Since the birth of the twentieth century, the area around the Ganga River and India in general, has become highly polluted. The area around the Ganga River has witnessed massive industrialization since the beginning of twentieth century, resulting in release of effluents and oil into the river, thereby causing pollution and loss of marine life. The task of cleaning the Ganga River has been the aim of many environmentalists, activists and politicians, including PM Narendra Modi. However, it is good news that now, some Kanpur based startups are joining hands with PM Modi to help in the task of cleaning the Ganga River. Around ten startups had given their ideas on how to clean the Ganga River at World India Economic Forum (WIEF). They are working together to prevent the Ganga from becoming a religious sewer. Read more on Startups

Help Us Green, founded by two 26 – year – olds in 2015, collects floral waste from temples, mosques and gurudwaras, along the banks of the Ganga River and makes chemical – free scents and incense sticks. Currently, the startup collects around 1.5 tons of floral waste from Kanpur and 8 tons of floral waste from Varanasi. The waste is composted and converted into scents and incense sticks. This process not only prevents fertilizer – laden floral waste from ending up on the Ganga River but has also generated thousands of jobs for the local residents. The flowers are dried up and rolled into incense sticks by women’s self-help groups. Men, who were beggars earlier, have now been assigned the dignified job of collecting floral waste from places of worship. Founded by Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi, the two – year – old startup has many awards to its credit now. The startup has not had any funding so far and does not see the need to have one either! “We are a self – sufficient company so far,” said Rastogi. However, both Agarwal and Rastogi have had their share of resistances even from within their families! “It was only after we won a competition at IIT-Kanpur in August 2015 that people started to take us seriously”, said Rastogi.

Another startup Detect Technologies was founded by two students from IIT Chennai in February 2016. It uses Guided Ultrasonic Monitoring of Pipe Systems (GUMPS) to detect oil leakages from oil pipelines which run on the river bed of the Ganga River. This facility has created quite a buzz in the oil and gas industry. It prevents loss of marine life and pollution due to oil leakages. It is the first continuous, real-time pipe monitoring system in the world that can even work at extreme temperatures. “To sum it up, GUMPS would act as an artificial nervous system continuously monitoring a huge network of pipelines and alerting the plant for any impending leaks”, said Daniel Raj David, one of the five co-founders of the startup. “The biggest challenge has been the production of GUMPS from its technically-sound stage to its commercially-sellable industry-certified stage. Oil and gas refineries have some very stringent certifications for electronics due to the risk of sparks”, said David. The startup has been successful in selling its idea to large oil refineries. It is now looking to sell its idea worldwide.

Another startup, Enguru was founded on December 15, 2016 by two University of Pennsylvania graduates, Arshan Vakil and Tahem Verma. They observed a gap in the skill set and employability of people in the Ganges region. They found that people did not know English and how to speak it fluently, two integral parts of employability. Observing this, they launched their mobile app Enguru during December 2016. Not only does the app offer short-term, certificate courses in spoken English, it opens up the window to various job prospects at the end of the course. “We wanted to come up with a tech-based solution but we started with an offline business. That helped us develop our content better”, said Vakil. “Currently, there are more than 60 jobs from 26 employers on the platform”, added Vakil. The user base for Enguru has shot up from 1,000 a day to 6,000 users a day. The courses are tailor – made for jobs in retail, hotel management and BPO sector.

The Ganga is not only a holy river but also the religious pride of the Hindu religion and of India. Protecting it from harm and enhancing its uses and tourist appeal is the duty of every Indian citizen. It is very heartening to see Indian startups joining hands with the Indian government in this regard. The cleaning of the Ganga is a mammoth task and cannot be done by a single organization or by the Indian Government alone. Everybody need to work together to accomplish this task. Hopefully, these wonderful startups will be successful (even further) in accomplishing the task over time. The Government of India should reward, fund and incubate more of such useful and innovative startups. Read more on Startup News    

Startups are helping to clean the Ganga River
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