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U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata, KIIT TBI host 48-hour non-stop Air Quality Hackathon

U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata, KIIT TBI host 48-hour non-stop Air Quality Hackathon

| @indiablooms | 01 Apr 2022, 09:01 pm

Kolkata: The U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata, in partnership with KIIT TBI, hosted a 48-hour non-stop Air Quality Hackathon (March 30-31, 2022) at the iLead College in Kolkata.

The Air quality hackathon program, or Air-O-Thon, has been designed to find innovative, sustainable, and implementable solutions to addressing the air pollution problem in the Eastern and Northeastern part of India.

The top three winners selected from the Hackathon will get an opportunity to develop and validate their product over a period of six months across three states.

Inaugurating the Air-O-Thon, Adrian Pratt, Director of the American Center in Kolkata, said, “The U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, following the U.S. Department of State, regularly engages with the local government, pollution control boards, policy makers, civil society members, students, youth leaders, media, think tanks, academic institutions, and other partners to work together and find ways to improve the air quality across East and Northeast India. We have implemented several public programs to raise awareness and involve youth leaders in mitigating air pollution in the past… No country can solve the climate crisis alone.  Everyone must do their part. I am grateful to you all for being a part of this important initiative that can make a significant impact for years to come”.

Pradip Chopra Chairman, iLEAD, and Mrutyunjay Suar, Director General R&D KIIT & CEO KIIT-TBI, were also present at the event. Dr. Suar spoke about the relevance of innovation and entrepreneurship to the formulation of a tangible solution.

He shared some real time examples and motivated the participants to have a long-term perspective while designing solutions.

The initiation of the Hackathon was done with a knowledge session which was led by Konkana Das, Analyst and Head of the East Zonal Office of Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE).

The 20 teams that had been selected for the grand finale came from seven states -- West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Manipur, Assam, and Sikkim -- and is a diverse demographic mix of researchers, faculty, students and start-ups.

The teams were shortlisted from 100 ideas received from the seven states.

The Top three ideas in Kolkata were selected by the Jury, consisting of V.K. Rai, Scientist, TDB, DST, GOI, Tapan Gandhi, Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, IIT Delhi, and Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, Vice Chancellor of Sister Nivedita University, Kolkata.

These top three selected ideas from the Hackathon will be provided with 360-degree support to complete their product development and product validation over a period of six months across three cities.

The ideas would be validated by the Pollution Control Board and then be recommended for large-scale implementation.

At the closing ceremony today, the winners were declared by Gloria Berbena, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi. She said in her remarks, “The U.S. Consulate Kolkata has supported environmental diplomacy and advocacy in the local community for the last several years. We have also convened several high-level talks and discussions with experts and policymakers on the issue of air quality in Kolkata.  They have spoken about the need for technology-supported solutions to the problem to educate people and change their behavior. Hackathons are always an exciting space for collaboration, creativity and innovation. I am heartened to see the number of creative ideas which have been generated in such a short amount of time over the last two days.”


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