Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin’s Balvi Fund will invest $1 million (about Rs 7.6 crore) in partnership with start-up ActiveBuidings to develop and deploy indoor air quality monitors and air cleaners in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Under the agreement, ActiveBuildings will deploy 5,000 Indoor Air Quality monitors and 10,000 air cleaners in the next one year to keep indoor air pollution in check and to collect real-world data on indoor air quality.

Buterin said Covid is primarily an airborne disease, and one of the most powerful ways to fight it is to improve indoor air quality and reduce airborne transmission.

"Air filters are very effective at reducing the airborne spread of Covid and other viruses, and work entirely in the background, and carbon dioxide sensors can detect poor air quality and suggest when filtration or ventilation might be required. ActiveBuildings' ambitious project in India will mass-manufacture and distribute monitors and air filters, paving a path toward making clean indoor air a standard in India, much like clean water has become a standard in much of the world today," he said.

Under the project, the indoor air quality monitors measuring carbon dioxide will be connected to a cloud server and dashboard to show data in real-time.

In 1,500 of these devices, ActiveBuildings will also add PM 2.5 as a parameter for monitoring particle pollution and aerosol pollution as it is the most lethal air pollutant for human health, the statement said.

Under the agreement, ActiveBuildings will deploy another 10,000 low-cost air cleaners across Maharashtra and Karnataka at critical locations of public importance.

"This contract to deploy air purifiers and Indoor Air Quality monitors and gather data is the largest such project ever undertaken in any low-medium income country, and it will serve up to 1 million Indians. The deployment will focus on government hospitals, government schools that typically do not have the budget to spend on clean air," the statement said.

According to a recent study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Karnataka had the worst air quality in the whole of south of India.

It stated that polluted air was responsible for 95 deaths out of every 1,00,000 people. The national average is 90 per 1,00,000. Over 50 per cent of deaths attributable to air pollution are younger than 70 years old.

"We are glad to partner with Balvi Fund in the movement to create awareness around the fact that clean indoor air is a fundamental requirement. With the help of this partnership, we intend to cover 6,00,000 square metres of indoor spaces, that will be protected with the help of 10,000 units of the Bubble Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes to public spaces like schools, healthcare facilities etc," ActiveBuildings CEO Abhinav Gupta said.