IKEA, the Swedish furniture and home decor brand, is developing a clever new product design that could help reduce India’s air pollution by as much as 33 percent.

As part of its “Better Air Now” initiative, IKEA has partnered with local and state governments to create innovative ways to alleviate air pollution. One solution will be to create a new line of IKEA products that are made from rice straw, an agricultural byproduct that is typically burned by farmers.

“The health effects of air pollution are severe, and at IKEA, we are determined to contribute to a solution,” says Helene Davidsson, Sustainability Manager South Asia at IKEA Purchasing.

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“We know that the burning of rice crop residue is a major pollution source and with this initiative, we hope that will change. If we can find a way to make use of rice straw, it would become a valuable source for the farmers instead of being burnt, which in the end also would contribute to better air for people.”

According to the World Health Organization, 9 in 10 people breath polluted air – and the majority of these people are living in India, currently ranked as one of the most polluted countries in the world. By cutting down on the amount of rice straw burned in India, IKEA’s environmental strategy has the potential to reduce air pollution in India by at least one third.

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IKEA hopes that – by focusing the majority of their efforts on the northern regions of the country, as well as the New Delhi area – they will be able to create an environmentally conscious pollution model that can expand to other major cities in India and be replicated in other countries suffering from high amounts of air pollution.

The rice straw products are already in development and are estimated to reach the market as early as 2019.

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