(Photo by Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times)
While staying at home amid the Covid-19 outbreak, two Indian students in Abu Dhabi came out with a simple but innovative solution to encourage people to use hand sanitiser.
Bhavika Kothapalli and her brother Praketh Kothapalli, students of Private international English School (Bhavans), Abu Dhabi, made a 'pen sanitiser' that could be used when pressing lift buttons and doorbells. They have already made 150 of them and supplied among the residents of their Mussafah building.
"All we need is a transparent pen, sponge and a good sanitiser to create a tool to break the chain," said Bhavika, a Grade 8 student.
"We noticed that in our building, lift buttons and doorbells are commonly used by many people. The virus could easily be spread through these as different people, including strangers, touch the button. To avoid direct contact, many people use their pens to press it. But there is a risk that the virus could be spread through the pen. Though people are practising social distancing inside the lift many don't care about the button. So, we thought a lot and came up with this idea of pen sanitisers that could be used to press lift buttons or doorbells," said 14-year-old Bhavika.
Her two-year younger brother Praketh Kothapalli said instead of cap, using pen's tip, which can then be sanitised was a better solution.
"We removed the refill from pen and filled it with sanitiser. We also fixed a sponge inside the cap. Whenever the tip is pressed against the lift, it may be infected. But once it's closed with the cap, due to the pressure created, sanitiser inside will fill the sponge and thus disinfect the tip of the pen," the Grade 5 student explained. "And the refills removed from the pens will be reused on other pens once the ink runs dry in them."
Once the idea was successfully tested, their father provided them with hundreds of pens, so that it could be distributed among his colleagues and residents in the building.
"All my colleagues have started using the pen sanitiser. They rave about its effectiveness. It can also be used at ATMs," said the father of the duo, Janardhan, who works in a private firm.
Vanitha, their mother, is happy that her children have contributed to the the UAE's fight against the pandemic. "I am proud my kids have played a little role. We are all together in this fight."