India ranks among the top 10.Excited?In what you ask?
India’s cities and towns have the highest level of indoor air pollution amongst the world’s top cities.Sad shocking and totally disturbing.This WHO REPORT shares national disease load due to indoor Air pollution.India has more than 1.5 million deaths per year due to indoor air pollution.
Important facts about Indoor Air Pollution
- 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves.They burn biomass (wood, animal dung, and crop waste) and coal.
- 4 million people die prematurely from illness due to household air pollution, from cooking with solid fuels.
- 50% of premature deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 are caused by the particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution..
Causes of Premature deaths are:
Premature deaths due to indoor air pollution :
- 12% are due to Pneumonia
- 34% from Stroke
- 26% from Ischaemic heart disease
- 22% from Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
- 6% from Lung cancer.
Western countries have indoor air quality guidelines.It’s 20 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter. In India, it averages 375 micrograms per cubic meter.
The burning of solid fuel is a big culprit,the section of society using biomass as fuel needs help.For this, we need Government help, subsidies.Thankfully it’s happening slowly but definitely happening.
But what about urban indoor air pollution?
Do you have any idea about what your home, office, shopping malls air contain?Unfortunately, there are no well-defined emission norms for Air conditioners, refrigerators, toasters in India.So the data is not easily available.
Quality of indoor air affects children more often.
Asthma ,allergic rhinitis , has reached shocking levels in children.
What can be your solution for this?
“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” ― Robert F. Kennedy Click To Tweet
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Indoor Allergen Committee in a 2010 report recommended that allergists consider indoor air filtration to be part of a comprehensive strategy to improve respiratory health.
Indoor air filters and air purifiers with HEPA filters can help.
But that’s just sweeping the dust under the carpet. It doesn’t address the greater problem of a more comprehensive plan to remove air pollutants.But HEPA filters are expensive and not a solution to the Indian problem.Indoor Plants are cheap, easy, pretty, low maintenance solution to this serious problem.
How plants improve air quality?
They can absorb ambient VOCs , improve the quality of air and produce oxygen.They purify ambient air and produce fresh oxygen for you to breathe!
Photosynthesis is the method by which plants produce oxygen.It depends on the presence of Carbon dioxide, light and water molecules.
Indoor air plant can produce oxygen even in low light conditions .
They also remove air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene(VOCs).Some of these VOCs are suspected carcinogens.
VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products used in homes including:
- Paints, paint strippers, and other solvents
- Wood preservatives
- Aerosol sprays
- Cleansers and disinfectants
- Moth repellents and air fresheners
- Stored fuels and automotive products
- Hobby supplies
- Dry-cleaned clothing
VOCs, evaporate into the air when these products are used or sometimes even when they are stored.
What effect do Volatile organic compounds have on your body?
- Irritate the eyes, nose, and throat
- Causes headaches
- Damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
- Some of them can even cause cancer.
These harmful chemicals are removed from the indoor air by absorption through the stoma on leaves.
They are then broken down into simple chemical components which are harmless.For example, take formaldehyde.It’s strongly suspected to be potentially causing cancer in humans.Plants can break it down to Carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms and make it harmless.
Sources of formaldehyde at home:
- Pressed woods
- Some types of foam insulation
- Paper products
- Some paints and varnishes
How many plants per person is adequate to provide fresh air?
1 to 3 per 100 square feet is said to be adequate.
So What kind of plants are best?
- English Ivy(Hedera Helix)
- Golden Pothos
- Epipremnum aureum, also known as devil’s ivy: reduces air levels of benzene and trichloroethylene.
- Boston fern(Nephrolepis Exalta Bostoniensis)
Ferns had the highest formaldehyde-removal efficiency of all the plants tested, especially Osmunda japonica, commonly known as Japanese royal fern, or zenma
- Bamboo palm: removes benzene and trichloroethylene(Chamaedorea Elegans)
- Dragon tree: (Dracaena Marginata)removes xylene
- Peace Lily: Spathiphyllum
- Lady Palm: Rhapis Excelsa
- Spider Plant: Chlorophytum Comosum
- Snake Plant: Sansevieria Trifasciata
What happens when you are not home?
That’s the biggest problem that stumps indoor gardeners.
Another problem with container gardening is providing optimal nutrition.
The good news I found a solution.
The Fairytale story…..
While watching Egiye Bangla an interesting program on ZEE BANGLA promoting entrepreneurship, I heard the most wonderful idea.It was an Urban gardeners dream.The winner Jayabrata Bhaduri was one of the 4 entrepreneurs behind Capacloud a startup company.
They had a solution to increase green friendly biophilic designs.I was so excited I tracked down , this Bengali entrepreneur Jayabrata Bhaduri on Facebook.Sent him a message and requested a meeting, to see how in the world did they do it.Very kindly he arranged a meeting with their mentor and guide.I turned up at the designated meeting place with my hubby, who was by now quite shocked that he had agreed to meet a stranger in their home/laboratory about gardening.
Nothing to do with medicine.But everything to do with health.Yes, that was my winning argument.
The time spent in the laboratory/workshop and terrace garden was pure magic.The extent and scope of their innovation was mind boggling!
Their winning idea:
- Lego-style tiles(Ecotop) made of some special material(Top secret)
- This tile is incorporated with special nutrients.
- This tile can be placed on almost any surface, to make growing green anywhere a distinct reality.
Experiments suggest they can provide a well-balanced plant nutrition, through their special technology for up to 5 years.Yes, that’s true 5 years!
Vertical Gardening +Hydroponics+Something special=Capaclouds new innovation.
Managing corporate orders is the top priority of the company right now.But they are planning to bring it to the indoor gardeners in the very near future.
Their upcoming project involves the United States Embassy in Kolkata.A young company already going places!
So how exactly Capacloud’s innovation, can revolutionize Urban gardening?
1) You can have improved air quality in
- Public places
- External walls
Image courtesy Capacloud
4)It’s inspirational, restorative, and healthy.
5)Its design can adapt to the functionality of the place Seamlessly integrates to interiors.
6)It provides nutrition to the plants for 5 years with an easy method of replenishing it.
No problem of plant sitters when you go for trips.Have your own urban jungle if you want.Eastern India leads in the incidence of nonsmokers with lung cancer.How many of you plant trees?How many of you have your own window boxes of greenery/balcony garden/terrace garden?
So how indoor plants do?
- Produce oxygen
- Absorb Carbon dioxide
- Removes volatile organic compounds: nitrogen dioxide, benzene, and formaldehyde & others.
- The plants remove all the poisons from the air and make your air breathable.
So how exactly does increased oxygen improve your health?
- Plants enhance job satisfaction in office workers
- Improve mood states =increased feeling of wellbeing.Helps stabilize mood.
- Enhance cognitive health
- Improves clarity of thought= more productivity
- Increased creativity=you have brilliant ideas
- Improve immunity and healing.
Why Indoor air plants?
- Plants are a useful way of improving air quality.
- Easily available.
- Maintenance is easy.
- Suitable for all environment.
- Plants provide an actionable option in situations where other more expensive technology may be grossly inadequate.
I think it’s time you took back your lungs.Do something for yourself. For the air you breathe.
For your children.It’s not about the future.It’s about the present.The world you live in is slowly being turned into a wasteland.Air, water, soil, sound pollution.The critical balance between the different elements of our ecosystem is terribly distorted.The possibility of this restored in the ecosystem is gradually decreased.Honestly, nobody is stopping, to think that only plants produce life-saving oxygen.
You can live without the internet, but how long can you live without breathing?No life will be possible on earth without plants.Artificial sources of oxygen are just that artificial and are only temporary solutions.If you made your home green soon your city, country and eventually mother earth would be green again.Let’s go green!
I decided to update this post because I am getting work done in my new home usindg some of these ideas.You will know the truth behind all the claims .Also Capacloud is now doing home spaces too!.Must check out their website for more details.