Delhi Air Quality : Curbing Air pollution
We’re all struggling as the news flashes “worst Air Quality recorded” every day. The worst time of the year is back, when the burning paddies, the direction of winds, onset of winters, burning of crackers and some extra vehicular pollution leads to the poor measurements of AQI. Check out your area’s AQI here .
Various studies measure concentrations of most harmful PM10 & PM2.5(i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5Microns). These Particulate matters reduce the air visibility, are the real cause of Smog, enter into the lungs & are responsible for many respiratory problems. And to breathe fresh, we need certain interventions, which can be small but cumulatively they can help us not become walking skeletons.
Did you know, The air inside our homes is even more polluted than the air outside, as per EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Indoor air has 5X more pollutants trapped in than he outside air.
Indoor Air Quality :
We spend 80% of the time indoors, be it in offices or at homes. And for the ventilation and warmth, our windows are open at certain times of the day. That ventilation is must but it also results in exchange of outdoor air and the red-orange signals of Air purifier cautions of the PM present in the indoor air. Also read, ways to curb Plastic Pollution, with easy alternatives for Homes.
When you think of air pollution, what triggers up is Outdoor Air pollution and we don’t conjure up images of our home/office interiors. But since we spend so much time indoors (do star a track yourself), ensuring the measures to keep the air quality(home, workplace, cars) as clean as possible is of prime significance.
Basis an NCBI report , “The ill-effects of indoor air pollution results in 2 million premature deaths per year. Out of which 44% are due to pneumonia, 54% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 2% from lung cancer.”
Major Indoor Pollutants creating the havoc on our health are :
- Molds and pollen in the air
- Tobacco smoke due to Cigarette / Cigars
- Toxic Household products (Aerosol spray, upholstery cleaners, Detergents, acids)
- Radon and carbon monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide gases (Gas stoves, smoking)
- Asbestos, formaldehyde, lead (furniture and wooden products, building materials)
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), emitting from paints, solvents, cleaning agents, pesticides.
How to prevent Indoor Air Pollution at an individual level :
1. Air Purifier :
After a lot of discussion with our doctor and feedback from some real time users, we finally invested in an Air Purifier with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. A HEPA filter is an air filter which forces the air through a fine mesh. It then traps various particles of different sizes as pollen, dust mites, Smoke, VOC’s , pet dander and more.
It’s been quite some time that we have been using Air purifiers and we can say that they are really effective in reducing harmful particles in the air.
2. Air purifying bags :
Many brands have come with with activated charcoal bags which traps up various particles and cleans up the air, the foul smell and also absorbs moisture. They come in different sizes (basis your room size) and all you need to do is hang them or place them in the portion which you feel is stinky or needs air purification. You can look out for some here.
3. Say “No” to smoking, rather a strict “No” to indoor smoking :
Cigarette smoke is very dangerous as it causes many respiratory and other health issues as Lung Cancer. The tar in cigarette smoke causes cancer and other chemicals in combination, are responsible for paralysing our internal body machinery every with every tar inhaled. Even a passive smoker inhales the tar, hence ensure there should be no smoking inside the house.
Burning candles, Dhoop sends soot up into your air. So, opt for beeswax candles which cleans up the indoor air or go for LED candles.
4. Organic Cleaning agents :
With the Mega offers on the board, we tend to buy the best deal that keeps our homes clean. What we focus is “Clean home and floors”. But do we ever keep a check on the toxic chemicals that we send in our indoor air daily through these cleansers? While we become happy with the gleaming countertops and floors, we are deteriorating our own health at that cost. More so the drain cleaners, acidic cleaners, are most dangerous. Even the fragrances that are added here are responsible for lots of allergic reactions.
So, either go for some home made cleaners (with baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice/Citrus Juice and borax) or opt for natural and Organic cleaners which do not release any toxins in air.
5. Reduce Molds and Keep the air less Humid :
Humidity is a torment and it creates lots of issues wrt breathing. Dust mites and molds love moisture and the multiply in such humid places. You should have a good plan to de-humidify your rooms, cabinets, bathrooms and places which remain moist for a longer period.
- You can use natural de-humidifiers as Rock Salt, Silica gels, charcoal briquettes.
- Place the clotheslines / Drying stand outside rather than inside the rooms.
- Use Fans, try keeping them on throughout the day
- Ensure a good ventilation and also use your AC to help in de-humidification.
6. Say “Yes” to Indoor Plants :
Plants are the nature’s gift to mankind, and they not just add up to the decor but some house plants actually help in the cleaning effect (in conjunction with the other measures as specified above).
“Coming up is a post on 6 Best Indoor Plants which clean up the air and spruce up the home decor”.
What actions have you taken up to clean the Indoor Air? Share with us in the comment section.