Thursday, 24 October 2013

Zimba


Majority of us follow the society’s rule book of studying hard through school and college to get a good job, and eventually working hard to climb up the corporate ladder. Suprio Das from Kolkata was also taught the same rules and he did follow them to his corporate life, only to realise that there is a lot that can be accomplished by working on his own. After many failed and some successful innovations, Suprio Das has successfully created a revolutionary product that will aid ground water purification in the rural areas.

Statistics show that every minute a child dies of waterborne diseases. Educating the masses regarding water purification is one aspect but more importantly making resources available tothem is an uphill task. Mr.Das’ determination to solve this problem, prompted him todesign ‘Zimba’, an automatic chlorine dispenser or water chlorine doser that is proving to be a boon against impure ground water. Zimba is a unique chlorine dispenser that has no moving parts and thus is very low on maintenance. The only thing Zimba needs is regular chlorine replenishment but the cost of water chlorination is only INR 5 – 10 per 10,000 litres, which is very affordable considering the cost of medication for waterborne diseases and associated severe repercussions. It is based on the auto-siphon mechanism, dosing chlorine at a specific water level. According to Mr. Das, “Zimba is substantiallydifferent fromother existing water dosersthat have the ability to disburse chlorine depending upon water level”. Zimba does not consume electricity either and can be fitted to a common water pipe that supplies water to over 60 families.

Born in a middle class family in Shillong, Suprio Das is aware of the problems in obtaining clean drinking water and wanted to do something for the society. He has worked with several NGOs like Aqua Welfare Society, GOAL India and Shipping Health to make safe drinking water available.Shipping Healthhas performed research on arsenic content in water and ways toreduce, if not completely eliminate, the level of arsenic in water. He soon found himself working with IDDS (International Development Design Summit) an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) initiative to collaborate with ‘like-minded people’ for creating a unique solution. Mr. Das says, “90% of the innovations these days are for only 10% of the people because these are profitable options. IDDS focuses on innovations that are for the underprivileged and for the needy”. Zimba was conceptualised at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) D-Labs in the year 2009 and a working prototype was ready by 2011. Later Zimba was successfully demonstrated at Stanford University, Cornell University and industrial summits in Dhaka, Ghana, and Sudan. To test theon-fieldutility, a pilotstudy was done in Sunderbans, West Bengal where 5 – 7 hand-pumps were fitted with Zimba. While the water quality increased the financial aspects were also encouraging. As of today Mr. Das is working with an entrepreneur who is also a hand-pump mechanic for installing Zimba and charging a sum to cover costs. He has also been approached by various national and international business houses for commercial production of Zimba.

Mr. Suprio Das did his Electrical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, India and has worked on several projects that include generating electricity and water purification. He continues to serve as an advisor to Aqua Welfare Society for the construction of modified dug wells. His other notable innovations include Treadle Pump Electricity, and generating electricity for domestic lighting from Human Powered Vehicles. His work and service to the society had earned him a yearlong grant by MIT-India/IFMR (Institute of Financial Management and Research) Trust Seed Fund besides TePP (Technopreneur Promotion Programme) Fund by the Ministry of Science and Technology, India. His ability to address hard problems of everyday life has been instrumental in hisbeing invited to 4 consecutive International Development Design Summit (organized by MIT) at Boston, Ghana and Colorado. He was also invited as Designer-in-Residence at MIT to work with and mentor students of D-Lab on development design. Mr. Das finds his mentorship at MIT very enriching as there is co-learning with the students which leads to co-creations.


Mr Das always had the desire to do something for the people who are less fortunate than him and he draws inspiration from the problems faced by these to come-up with new innovations. Through the years, he has worked on a hand pump, a hand powered cell phone charger and, more recently, an automated chlorine doser (Zimba) that contains no moving partsand does notrequire electricity.He is determined to channelize his inquisitive mind for the larger section of society that manages on meagre resources. 

2 comments:

  1. Great innovation ! How can we use it in Pune district ?

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  2. Dear Mr. Limaye. You can get in touch with Mr. Suprio Das, innovator of Zimba. He has been working with various NGOs and social groups for the noble cause of clean water to everyone. Please refer his website http://www.zimbawater.com/ for more details.

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