Indian Railways has hired a startup to handle the task of cleaning ‘gutka’ spit stains in the stations.
It is estimated that the Indian Railways spends around Rs 1,200 crore and several thousand gallons of water annually to clean the stains from pan and tobacco users.
Despite the place of a fine of Rs 500 on those littering and spitting in railway premises, there has been no behavioral affect or change.
It has employed startup EzySpit to handle the menace in three railway zones – Western, Northern and Central.
About The Product
EzySpit has developed a pocket-sized reusable and biodegradable spittoon with seeds that will grow into plants when it is disposed of.
Spittoons function similar to ashtrays but for saliva.
42 stations will have vending machines or kiosks from which the spittoon pouch can be purchased for as little as Rs 5 to Rs 10.
It comes in three varieties – pocket pouches (reusable 10 to 15 times), mobile containers (reusable 20,30,40 times) and spit bins (reusable 5000 times).
The spittoons are portable, which allows passengers to spit whenever and wherever they want without leaving ugly stains.
It features macromolecule pulp technology and is equipped with a material that locks in bacteria and viruses present in saliva.
The pouches are biodegradable and are reusable up to 15 to 20 times.
It comes in different sizes and also contains seeds along with a material that absorbs the spit and turns them into a solid.
Another benefit is that they can be thrown anywhere since it is biodegradable.
There is an added benefit if it is disposed of in mud or soil since it helps the seeds germinate.
Public Health Benefits
A Railway official said that the product will specially benefit elderly passengers.
This is because spit stains in public places cause its particles to spread up to 27 feet in the air.
The germ proves deadly for people, especially the vulnerable including the elderly.
The germs have also contributed to the spread of disease like TB, swine flu, Covid, etc.
For its role in the spread of the Coronavirus, spitting in public was forbidden during the first and second wave.
About The Startup
The product made its debut earlier this month marking the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in the national capital.
Co-founder of EzySpit, Ritu Malhotra, said that the idea behind the product is to grow plants from the waste of human spit.
It boasts of an entire manufacturing team of 24 women and the startup wishes to propagate the values of Swachh Bharat and Atma Nirbhar Bharat.