Aditya Pratap Singh Chauhan is 17 years old, but he is already tackling one of the biggest issues plaguing the planet – microplastics. Hailing from Chhattisgarh, Chauhan is behind Micropa, a simple yet innovative device to detect microplastics in water. It was for this innovation that Chauhan received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar for Innovation yesterday from President Draupadi Murmu.
Chauhan developed Micropa with his partner. The simple device uses a computer algorithm to detect, quantify and filter microplastics from water. Microplastics are tiny fragments of any type of plastic less than 5 mm in length, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the European Chemicals Agency. As plastics do not decompose, these microplastics slowly find their way through all water systems. These plastics can become a haven for deadly bacteria and toxins.
“Currently, there are not many ways other than complex lab processes to actually identify or remove microplastics from water samples. So, our device actually marks a milestone by providing such a facility directly to the hands of people,” Chauhan told the online portal Victory Tales.
Chauhan started his journey after a person in his neighbourhood got infected by water-borne disease. Upon testing the local water supply, authorities found a large presence of microplastics.
“We then decided to research deeper on it and found that microplastics pose a really huge threat by marking their presence in drinking water around the world. These ultra-tiny plastic particles are not easily identified or removed. Hence, we made up our minds to come up with a simple but efficient solution to the problem,” Chauhan explained.
Despite many setbacks and dead-ends, Chauhan has managed to persevere in his project. He has faced issues like a lack of resources, along with other roadblocks. But a strong mindset has meant that even though Chauhan has faltered he has not stopped. “I wake up every day with a strong mindset to face all the challenges that I would come across throughout the day with my full efforts,” he said.
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This is not the first time that Chauhan has been felicitated by the government. Chauhan was one of the three students selected from Chhattisgarh for the ISRO Young Scientist Programme YuViKa 2019. He’s also a two-time winner of the CSIR Innovation Award for School Children, receiving a cash reward of Rs 5,000 in 2018 and Rs 10,000 in 2019.
Chauhan has also represented India at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest international pre-college science competition.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: Jan 24, 2023 5:19 PM IST