Traffic police get high-tech masks

Britain's Cambridge Mask Company is selling military-grade anti-air pollution masks to Nepal’s traffic police, who have to breathe one of the most polluted air in the world in their line of work.

The deal was facilitated by the UK Department of International Trade and will be exporting $7million worth of masks to other Asian countries will very high levels of pollution: India, Thailand and China.

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"Rapid urbanisation and population growth have meant that people across the world, especially in countries like Nepal, are prone to sickness resulting from toxic air,” said Christopher Dobbing of the Cambridge Mask Company. “I am pleased that our masks will now help police officers serve the Nepali public while keeping them safe from almost 100% of gas-based air pollution, harmful pathogens and particulate matter in the air.”

The company claims that its masks has a filtration system developed by the UK's Ministry of Defence which cuts out 99.6% of viruses, 99.7% of bacteria and 99% of harmful gas and suspended particles. 

Kathmandu’s air pollution often reaches 300 AQI during rush hour – ten times higher than deemed healthy by the WHO. Traffic Police in Kathmandu have to be deployed at the most polluted intersections because most traffic lights do not work.

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Dobbing said he launched the Cambridge Mask Company after working in Beijing, where he was shocked by children painting the sky grey because they had never seen it blue.

Globally, air pollution kills seven million people per year according to the WHO - more than murders, suicides and car crashes combined.

The Cambridge Mask Company also recently launched a $32,000 crowdfunding effort for a smart mask that can actively monitor the air quality of its users and tell its users when to change the mask filters.