What is Air Pollution and how does it affect Environment?
Everyone knows about air pollution. It’s no new topic. We have been hearing and learning about it ever since we started school…and maybe even before that.
For a moment I would be that irritating person who repeats something a thousand times and I am going to take you back to the definition of air pollution! So, air pollution is nothing but the contamination of air by various chemical contaminants and breathing in this polluted air can result to many different medical conditions in humans and animals.
We all know about how air pollution affects our environment. But when we think of air pollution, most of the times we only shed a light on the outdoor air pollution; how the air is getting polluted by smokes from automobiles, manufacturing units, waste incinerators, Chlorofluorocarbons released from refrigerators and cooling devices, carbon monoxide released from forest fires, nuclear weapons and other toxic gases.
Without any further delay I would like to divert your attention towards the actual topic, i.e., indoor air pollution.
As the name suggests, indoor air pollution is the accumulation of physical, chemical and biological pollutants in the air in closed spaces like a building, institution and even your own house. Yup, you are not safe from this pollution monster even in your home!
Though indoor air pollution is not highlighted much and we often tend to skip on this particular topic, these days it has become a major issue and especially for the people inhabiting in rural areas and also is a major concern in developed countries. It has been noticed that there has been a relative increase in the construction of high rise buildings, housing complexes, shopping malls, commercial industries, etc these days. So, to make these skyscrapers, the interior space of each houses are cut down by a notch which results in compact air tight houses with little or no ventilation. Also, with the increase in the use of high end equipments, people pay less attention to indoor air pollution. Some are even unaware that living in such compact spaces increases the indoor pollution levels than that of outdoor pollution. So, if this scenario sounds familiar to you then I am sorry to say but you might have fallen for a victim to indoor air pollution.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
There are many sources from which pollutants get mixed into the air and contaminate it. I’ll list down the most relevant ones.
- Use of Traditional Fuels in Rural Areas: In India we have heard stories from our mother and grandmother about how wood fires, charcoal and cow dung used to be their regular go to means to cook food. This still exists in this modern age where many people living in the rural areas cannot afford LPG cylinders and thus they still have to rely on such outdated means for cooking. Can you imagine what all those harmful gases from burnt woods, charcoal and the methane and carbon monoxide from burning of cow dung could do to the respiratory system?
- Use of Household Care Products, Pesticides, Synthetic materials used in furnishings: These sources are the major contributors of indoor air pollution in the urban areas. The chemicals (nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead) released by the use of Household and personal care products like floor whitening agents, aerosol sprays, room fresheners, insecticides and pesticides, bleaches and other such products which claims to keep your home clean and free of dirt and dust are actually falsely proclaiming you to believe them. The smells may be heavenly and even their usage may seem to be helpful on the surface but in reality, they are actually adding up to the pollution levels in your home.
- Volatile Organic Compounds: These are mainly found in aerosol sprays, mists, room fresheners, perfumes, scents, mosquito repellents, glues, polishes and spirits. Mostly, they don’t have an adverse effect on humans. But they are known to cause irritation in the nose, itchy eyes and can also affect the throat. In severe cases, it can cause headache, migraine and nausea.
- Smoking: It has been known since ages that smoking is injurious to health. So, it should come as no surprise that a person who smokes tobacco in his/her home is exposed to the tobacco fumes in the air. This fumes present in the indoor air can cause cancer, bronchitis, asthma, burning of eyes and nose and lung infection.
- Biological Pollutants: They mainly consist of pollens, mites from hair or from pets, some bacterias, parasites and fungi. They are mainly allergens and can cause nose irritation and also can bring out allergic reactions in humans.
How Can We Control Indoor Air Pollution?
The average indoor air pollution levels in most of the cases, are generally higher than the acceptable levels set according to WHO guidelines.
There’s no specific guidelines to control indoor air pollution. The only thing we can do is minimize the use of chemicals and toxic products that are known to pollute the indoor air. Keep your home on check and keep it clean. Put yourself on a routine where you clean your bathrooms, laundry room, bedrooms and all other rooms and corners you have in your home! Hey, don’t forget to watch out for those foul smelling moulds! Also, don’t forget to clean your carpets. They are known to release a gas known as formaldehyde which is really really bad for our health.
There are some plants that can help purify the indoor air. Yes, they are somewhat costly but, hey, your health comes first! Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Dracaena, etc. are some of the plants that controls indoor air quality. They are known to remove formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene from the air.
The next possible thing one can do is invest in a good quality air purifier. But no always, do they do what they claim to do! So, it’s better to do some thorough research before buying a good quality air purifier. Don’t be fooled by all their sweet talking!
Ventilate as much as possible and don’t forget to turn on the exhaust fans while you are in the kitchen or in the bathroom. You will be safe from all those Volatile Organic Compounds that are released while cooking and using cleaning agents.
Don’t let all those creaks and crevices in your home and always put away excess food and store them properly. Critters can act as favourable spots for all those fungi and moulds. So, sealing those cracks and creaks will keep your home safe from fungus and parasites.
Recently, Asianpaints introduced a painting technology called royale Atmos that claims to reduce indoor air pollution levels. Though they don’t claim to purify the air 100% but at least they have taken an initiative to play doctor and purify the indoor air.
The paint is manufactured using the Activated Carbon Technology that is known to reduce pollution levels, be it your beautiful home or even your skin! Remember how those charcoal facewashes use this same technology and how they suck up all of those tini tiny microbes, dirt and oil from your skin?! Royale Atmos is going to do the same to your beautiful home; provide you with clean and fresh air to breathe in. Say bye bye to foul smells.
This Activated Carbon Technology purifies the air from the most harmful air pollutant, that is, formaldehyde and provides with healthier air to breathe in.
It absorbs malodors like cigarette smoke, food smells like that of rotten eggs and garlic. It emits a sweet fresh fragrance that keeps all the foul smells at bay.
To know more about this paint technology, click here.
Let your home breathe. That’s why they say, clean air equals to beautiful homes.
So, that’s all for today! Let me know what you thought about this post in the comments section down below. Thanks for reading! 😊