Diwali Special: A six-step guide to design your own green space
Less dust, more plants and a little bit of tech: here’s how you can create an oasis of green air for yourself at home
You might not be able to control the pollution at your workplace, in public spaces or on public transport, but you can start fixing the air in your personal spaces and rooms. Why is it important? Indoor air pollution can inflict more damage than the bad air you breathe outside. Scientific research suggests that indoor pollution can be 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution. Here’s how you can create an oasis of clean air and green surroundings inside your house.
1. Use money plants: Easy to clean and maintain, money plants make for an excellent indoor plant. They work like small oxygen generators. The trick is to keep the leaves clean of dust. It is advised to keep the plant out of the reach of pets and children since its leaves can be poisonous if ingested.
2. Invest in a device that measures CO2 and PM 2.5 levels: Even if you place money plants all over your house, you still need to know the quality of air inside your house. The air inside your living room can sometimes be worse than the outside air. Devices like the Laser Egg 2, and Awair, for example, use temperature and humidity sensors to tell you how clean the air around you is. Some air purifiers come with similar features as well.
3. Reduce artificial pollutants: Perfumes, paint, cleaning products, printer ink and other sundry items emit artificial pollutants that can cause serious damage over a period of time. Reduce the use of items like incense sticks (keep the windows open), deodorants and other fragrant products.
4. Try and keep the dust levels low: Carpets, curtains, and furniture are dust magnets. Carpets, especially, attract hair, dust, pet dander and mould that will eventually mix with the indoor air. New carpets tend to release chemicals—a process known as off-gassing—and it’s important to keep the room properly ventilated in such a situation. Also try and purchase carpets that have minimal plastic and adhesive.
5. Choose the right air purifier: There are certain parameters that determine whether or not an air purifier will be effective and helpful for your home. One of the key things to check is the filters. A pre-filter ensures that large particles/pollutants in the air are captured earlier and don’t clog the purifier. A high-efficiency particulate air (Hepa) filter traps the small contaminants in the air stream. Meanwhile, a carbon filter, used together with a Hepa filter, captures allergens like mould, dust and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that a Hepa filter might not. A good purifier should also have an indicator for “filter change” and air quality.
6. Declutter, go paperless: Your own green space shouldn’t be affected by too many items that take up a lot of space. Some printer inks are known to emit toluene, which is a harmful toxin. Too many newspapers, printed documents or other paper will only increase the problem. Access the information you need online and recycle newspapers as much as you can
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