Students of MakersLoft ranked 3rd in the World Robot Olympiad, 2017 – Junior High OPEN category. MakersLoft Kolkata Wetlands team created sustainable robots for preserving East Kolkata Wetlands, the kidneys of Kolkata.
What are the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW)?
EKW, located on the eastern fringes of Kolkata city, is one of the largest assemblages of waste water fed fish ponds. It spreads over 125 sq. km and acts as a natural purification system of the urban waste water which is used for fish cultivation and agriculture. The wetlands receive the city’s waste water, treats it organically with the help of sunshine, oxygen and microbial action and turn it into a productive fish habitat. This is how the EKW treats the waste water of Kolkata within 20 days.
We organized a field trip to EKW for our students for a better understanding of their project.
To have a clear idea of the problems faced by EKW, we had a session with Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Environmentalist, East Kolkata Wetlands
Some problems faced by EKW:
- Loss of livelihood for fishermen of wetlands: This is due to the variation in pH of water in the ponds. The variation in acidity & alkalinity is due to the variation in incoming municipal waste.
- Industrial waste dumped along with municipal waste: To assess the level of contamination by industrial waste there has to be a reliable source of sampling and assessment of incoming waste water.
- Encroachment of land
- Siltation of fishponds and canals
- Heavy metal contamination.
Of the problems faced by EKW our students chose the following two problems:
- PROBLEM: Loss of livelihood for fishermen of wetlands
SOLUTION – ROBOT 2: They created a floating robot that can analyse the pH levels of the water from the ponds. Based on the pH levels of the water it can react accordingly by dropping neutralizing agents in the water to maintain the pH levels.
- PROBLEM: Industrial waste dumped along with municipal waste
SOLUTION – ROBOT 1: Although EKW has been internationally recognized as a Ramsar sites from last 25 years, still it is prone to industrial pollution. Till date no reliable solution has been set up to effectively measure the level of industrial pollutants in sewage entering EKW. Any manual process is prone to errors. Therefore our students suggest a robotic solution for regularly collecting samples of waste water in fixed quantities from the wetlands to check and compare for contaminants over a period of time.
- Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Environmentalist, East Kolkata Wetlands
- Dipayan Dey, Chairman, South Asian Forums for Environment
- Somasree Basu, Communication Officer, South Asian Forums for Environment
- Ajanta Dey, Joint Secretary & Programme Director, Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS)
- Arup Ghosh, Manager, Corporate Communications, ITC Limited
- RajLakshmi, tissue bank scientist
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