I have always suffered from breathing problems, and during Diwali, they have persistently increased. Every Diwali means a bout of sneezing, coughing and an accompanying inhaler. This year, I decided to not go out altogether to avoid being subjected to such an immense health problem. But, again, those sneezing bouts came, this time they were worse. That got me thinking. Is our home really as safe as we think it to be?
Most of us usually relate pollution with what we see outside. What we don’t know is that our homes are up to 10 times more polluted than outside air! According to a report by the Telegraph, there are around 1.3 million deaths annually in India because of poor indoor air quality. And this pollution arises because of the air outside. It accumulates in the home space, becoming more dangerous, as we get subjected to continuous pollution within a small space.
According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 7 million people die worldwide from exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution every year. India ranks as one of the most polluted countries in the world, and Delhi is alarmingly seeing a massive growth in pollution levels. This year, on the Diwali night in Delhi, pollution levels spiked as much as 23 times higher (2,308 mpcm) than normal (100 mpcm). Imagine the amount of indoor pollution it must have caused!
Even the U.S Embassy in Delhi purchased 1,800 high performance air purifiers to protect its employees at the embassy and other locations before President Barack Obama’s visit in January, leading to much controversy. Indoor air contaminants can cause serious health hazards, including respiratory and lung problems, like asthma, allergic reactions and in certain cases, even cancer. Unknowingly, we are exposed to them everyday.
Eureka Forbes and Brandscapes conducted a nationwide audit in 2014, which revealed that 4 out of 10 respondents believed that air conditioners were the most effective method to combat indoor air pollution, while 3 out of 10 respondents perceived air fresheners as a source to reduce pollution. But indoor air pollution is largely dependent on the quality of outdoor air. ACs simply cool the air being supplied to it from outside, and lack filters that can protect us against harmful toxins that can penetrate our bloodstream and cause serious health hazards.
Air purifiers, currently accessible to few due to their high prices are one of the best ways to deal with pollution indoors. Air purifiers have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters that aid in cleaning the air around that is circulated. It is possible for the HEPA filter of an air purifier to remove about 99.9% of dust particles bigger than 0.3 microns. Apart from dust particles, they are also efficient in warding off bad odours like medicinal odours, heavy cooking smells and cigarette smell.
For those looking for cheaper options, you can even make your own air purifier, by using a fan and a furnace filter.
Air filters do have their limitations and may not be efficient in purging the air off all pollutants. But it is indeed a good step towards cleaning indoor air, and for creating awareness that the aam aadmi has to not only purge the country of pollution but also clean up the air outside, that can harm us and our families indoors.
Promoted by Philips.