Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2021

The boys in this picture live in the center of Dharavi, Mumbai, one of the world’s biggest slums. More than a million people live in Dharavi and it’s an extremely unhealthy place to live because of the severe air pollution. Onno van Schayck, professor of preventative medicine at the University of Maastricht, has an idea that can contribute to a healthier future for these boys: building small chimneys in their homes.

According to the World Health Organization an average of a million Indians die from polluted air in the home every year. In the huts of the slums people cook without proper ventilation and inhabitants often stay indoors in the smoke contaminated air all day and night. Dangerous particles in that air can cause lung diseases such as lung cancer and COPD. Van Schayck: ‘There is no outflow of that smoke, so the slums are blue with smoke. It’s horrible to hear kids coughing all the time.’

The solution, according to him, is so simple ‘that you just can’t understand why we haven’t done it sooner.’ Over the next 6 to 12 months Van Schayck wants to supply millions of homes in India with chimneys, in cooperation with technicians and medical personnel from different Dutch universities. The goal is to produce the chimneys locally from recycled materials for less than $2.50 each. According to Van Schayck, India has an extensive recycle culture, which will make it easier to obtain the necessary materials.

Read about the best plants to naturally clean your air.

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