Kolkata: Imagine tackling day-to-day environmental challenges in Kolkata by putting to use technologies that are already in place at the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting the Earth. That’s exactly what schoolkids from Bengal and California have done to tackle environmental issues and sustainability challenges in Kolkata and Oakland.
From cleaning up the air by replacing fuels in cars with hydrogen produced from air to filtering the highly toxic chromium ions in the tannery waste, Indian and American students have collaborated to churn out six demonstrable projects that will be showcased first at Science City in Kolkata and then at Chabot Space & Science Centre in Oakland.
While 12 American students are spending a month in the city to work on the projects, their Indian counterparts will travel to the US in May. The programme, christened Hacking Space, is funded through the Museums Connect Grant, an initiative of the US state department, and administered by American Alliance Museums.
“Students from the two countries are exploring potential strategies for environmental sustainability on Earth by drawing inspiration from space travel technology,” said US public affairs officer Andrew Posner. “They are creating workshops for museum visitors to demonstrate the applicability of space innovations to address sustainability on the planet,” added National Council of Science Museums director Samarendra Kumar, who is coordinating the India leg of the programme.
Megan Steinwedel, the volunteer programme manager of Chabot Space & Science Centre, said water and air were issues of concern in both Oakland and Kolkata. “Oakland has the same air pollution problem that a big city like Kolkata faces. California has a huge water crisis due to drought. Though there is abundance of water in Bengal, it has water contamination issues,” she pointed out.