Sources of Indoor air pollution
The air quality in Delhi and the neighbouring cities is deteriorating to alarming levels. The toxic smog blanketing the atmosphere is affecting lives leading to road accidents and flight delays as well as posing grave health risks. Several health experts are warning of rising instances of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. As people are resorting to using of masks and air purifiers, Dr Randeep Guleria, director, All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), has suggested that such means may not be completely effective in curbing the harmful effects of pollution. Also, studies have proven that air indoors can be twice or five times more toxic than the air outside. It is thus important to curb your outdoor activity and shield your house to prevent entry of pollutants.
Some useful tips to protect your house from smog and pollution:
Bring greenery indoors: Avoid use of synthetic fragrances and add more plants in the interiors. According to a study conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists, houseplants are natural air purifiers that cleanse and rejuvenate the air. It is recommended to keep at least one indoor plant per 100 square foot of the house to achieve efficient air cleaning. Some commonly found plants which are known to remove toxins are Aloe Vera, Peace Lily, Spider Plant, Snake Plant, etc.
However, another theory is that plants may not be as helpful in controlling indoor air pollution. They do help cutting down on pollution by an average of 27 per cent if planted close to pollution sources such as factories, industrial sites, roadways, power plants, commercial boilers and oil and gas drilling sites, says a study by the Ohio State University.
“Plants are great, but they don't actually clean indoor air quickly enough to have an effect on the air quality of your home or office environment,” Michael Waring, an associate professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, said in a statement. In short, ventilation will be far better than considering indoor plants.
Clean your home: A thorough housecleaning can be an easy way to remove potential pollutants and allergy triggers. But rather than vacuum cleaning, perform wet mopping of the floors using a disinfectant. A damp cloth will trap particles much effectively instead of spreading them again into the air. Make sure you properly clean outside entryways and patio. Remember to wear masks when you clean. If possible, cover the beddings and upholstery with dust-proof covers.
Shun the rugs: Avoid wall to wall carpeting or padding because rugs and carpets attract allergens. Walking along the carpets can recirculate the pollutants back into the air. Similarly, remove heavy drapes and opt for light machine-washable kinds that can be easily kept dust-free. Remember to take off your shoes before entering the home as shoes are carriers of toxins like coal tar, cigarette ash, fungal spores, industrial toxins, etc. Place an additional doormat inside near the main door.
Increase ventilation: Ventilate the kitchen by installing exhaust fans as cooking fumes can increase indoor pollution levels and affect health. Excessive moisture can worsen air quality too. Make similar provision in the bathroom areas. Clean air conditioners regularly and repair leaks if noticed. Invest in air purifiers to improve indoor air quality. Select the right product for your house by considering aspects like room size, no ozone emission, clean air delivery rate (CADR), air changes per hour (ACH) as well as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
Limit outdoor activities: It is very important to restrict outdoor activities, especially during late evenings or night. Provide extra protection for kids, elderly and expecting mothers or anyone suffering from respiratory problems and keep medicines handy. Seal gaps or vents in doors and windows and avoid opening them frequently. Try reducing outdoor trips by combining your chores. Afternoons are the best time to step out in winters as the concentration of pollutants are relatively lower.