Humanitarian aid is designed to restore human dignity in the worst circumstances. But, as AirDropBox’s James Chalkley writes, the actual delivery of the aid should not be a threat to humans or the environment.
During the Nepalese Civil War, humanitarian aid packages were airdropped from military aircraft. Later, when the military team visited one of the villages to retrieve the aid delivery systems, they were led to a grave where the son of the village chief was buried. His death had been caused by an air package which had not been dropped safely.
We created AirDropBox in 2013 to help prevent this kind of awful side effect of aid delivery from happening. People can be injured or even killed by the crushing weight of an aid package if it's delivered to an unknown area. Likewise, the contents of the package itself can be destroyed during landing. And then there is the issue of waste - which can be harmful to the environment if it is made of non-biodegradable material and is not retrieved afterwards.
In the first stages, AirDropBox was specifically designed to enable safe air delivery at much lower costs. The package can be dropped from most light aeroplanes and therefore with more accuracy, and the system is 98.8% biodegradable. All the parts of the package can be re-used for various purposes: the box can be used as fuel for cooking or heating and the parachute can also serve as temporary shelter.
AidEx has been a huge stepping stone for us. When we first went in 2013, our idea was greeted with enthusiasm, which encouraged us to go forward with the implementation. And last year we met the Grifaid team and realised our companies were the perfect match to work together.
We were able to adapt our box to fit the Grifaid Aquafilter's community filter system, creating an environmentally-friendly air droppable water filter. Grifaid’s filters produce safe water on demand and are designed to last for a minimum of 5 years, requiring no spare parts, cartridges, or electricity.
Up until now, the air trials have been very successful so a fully working production model will be released later in 2015.