To combat COVID-19, an Indian innovator designs zero touch handwashing station


By Raza Naqvi

DELHI, India - An innovator in India has come up with a ‘no touch’ handwashing station to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and conserve water in the process.

Tamchos Gurmet in the Leh district of northern India developed a design for better hand hygiene, which enables users to control the flow of water with a foot press rather than having to touch the faucet with their hand, helping to reduce the risk of contamination among users.

“Multiple people touching the same faucet risks spreading infection,” says Mr Gurmet. “The hands-free handwashing station reduces the need for people to touch the faucet, making the act of handwashing even safer.”

Until there is a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, there is no better cure than prevention. Sanitation and hand hygiene are central to preventing the spread of COVID-19, and a first line of defence against this serious threat to lives and health systems.

According to Mr Gurmet, his design also helps save up to 80 per cent of the water that would otherwise be wasted by handwashing. As the water flows only when the foot press is pushed, hand washers can easily reduce the amount of water they are using.

“The system which I have built only allows water to release when you apply pressure on the foot press. This helps in saving water,” said the innovator, speaking with the WSSCC, explaining that the device involves two-foot presses, one for water and the other for soap.

“People were distributing masks, sanitizers and other things, that’s when the motivation came to make something unique for the society,” said Mr Gurmet.

After building the handwashing station, he donated it to Sonam Norboo Memorial Hospital in Leh.

“I donated the device to the hospital because doctors and healthcare workers are the most vulnerable. This will help them to keep their hands clean,” he said. Mr Gurmet has now received orders from the local airport authority, hotels, defence forces and civilians.

Handwashing station made out of scrap with an in-built tissue dispenser

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During the lockdown, Mr Gurmet was able to obtain scrap materials he needed from nearby stores.

“I procured steel from a shop and used it to make the body,” he says. “I worked for 12 hours per day, so the device was built in five days.”

The foot press used in the device was made of parts used in a truck. Mr Gurmet even put a tissue dispenser into the handwashing station so people can dry their hands after washing them.

Next project is for the Indian Air Force

Impressed by his work, the Indian Air Force asked Mr Gurmet to make a similar handwashing station for them. He says he feels proud to be able to contribute to keeping defence personnel safe from the coronavirus.

“It is an honour to be approached by the Indian Air Force, and I am proud that my handwashing station will be used by defence personnel, who are always there for our safety,” he said.