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Top 10 apps helping Asians live smarter and greener

[Magazine Exclusive] Mobile applications could help city dwellers in Asia live smarter and address environmental issues such as pollution, flooding, traffic congestion and waste. Here’s Eco-Business’s selection of the top 10 apps.

1. Blue Sky Map 

Launched by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in China, this app allows users to monitor pollution from a factory or power plant near their home. It has helped raise awareness among the Chinese about their environment and puts pressure on errant firms which are violating pollution laws. The app has been downloaded by three million people in China.

2. RESET Certified

This app tracks the air quality of indoor spaces such as offices and schools in Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou. Its maker GIGABASE Environmental Consulting said the app will also soon expand to include shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, hotels and other public indoor spaces. RESET aggregates the data from certified pollution monitoring standards for indoor spaces. 

3. Uber

A global private transport service which has taken Asian countries by storm, Uber is an app which allows users anywhere in the world to get a ride with a swipe on their smartphones. It is rapidly becoming popular in Asia Pacific with a presence in 56 cities. Despite some questions over the legality of its operations, the app continues to attract customers because of the convenience it offers. It also promotes the concept of a sharing economy, which promotes the sharing of underused assets such as private vehicles.

4. Moovit 

This is a free app available in many parts of the world which helps users make the most of public transportation by finding the best routes, helping them avoid crowded buses and trains, and providing updates on incidents that could disrupt one’s travel plans. It provides real-time information and GPS navigation on public transportation in 600 cities, including cities in Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand.

5. Carousell

One of Asia’s most popular versions of eBay, Carousell is a digital flea market with over 8 million listings of products for sale. It gives a second life to unused or unwanted items, which would otherwise be sent to landfills. Based in Singapore, the start-up company behind the app calls Carousell a lifestyle and shopping app that makes “selling as simple as taking a photo”. It has now expanded to Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and the US.

6. GreenPost 

Another app originating from Singapore, GreenPost is an electronic billing aggregator which helps Asians go paperless, allowing them to conserve resources by putting most of their monthly bills and statements in one place online or on their smartphone. In 2011, it was chosen by Asia’s Top 50 Apps awards as the ‘Solution of the Year’ and has now spread in other countries including Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Australia and the UAE.

7. I Got Garbage

This is a cloud-based mobile application which transforms scavengers into recycling managers by connecting them to households that need waste disposal and management services. The system, started in Bengaluru, India in 2013, now connects around 6,500 scavengers to around 100,000 houses through the app, helping the city manage 6,000 tonnes of waste per day.

8. Sellixo

This app, also originated from Bengaluru, is developed by a team of 14-year old students and serves as a trading platform for recyclable dry waste, connecting small shopkeepers and homeowners to companies buying recyclable materials. The students won US$10,000 seed funding for this project during the ‘Technovation Challenge 2015’ in San Francisco, US. 

9. MyWaters

A mobile app released by Singapore’s national water agency PUB, MyWaters provides updates on flash floods using CCTV images of key areas of the city, as well as data on water levels in drainage systems. The app which can be downloaded from an iPhone device, also offers information on beautiful waterscapes and other water-related events in the city-state.

10. Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards)

This is a popular mobile app in typhoon-prone Philippines, which help citizens monitor weather conditions and provides crucial information on the probability of rain, typhoon forecast, rainfall amount, temperature, flood risks, among others. ARKO, another app which stemmed from Project NOAH, has emerged top among 450 mobile apps worldwide during the World Summit Awards in 2014 for its life-saving features using geo-location data from mobile phones.

This story was first pubilshed in the Eco-Business magazine. Check it out here.

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