The statistics about air pollution throughout the world is alarming. It is believed that air pollutants are the sources of various diseases including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and insomnia. It is also proven that the indoor air quality is five times worse than outdoor air quality. When the death rates due to air pollution are on a rise we should try to be the part of the solution instead of becoming the problem itself.
As the air quality in various cities of India is worsening, the various measures to curb air pollution must be taken by citizens. The cities like Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jaipur, Gurgaon, Patna, Gaya, Varanasi and Kolkata are the worst hit by air pollutants. Most of the deaths are now can be connected to bad air quality which does not sound alluring. The measures which can be taken in a day to day life should be practised, awareness about the methods of air purification must be promoted so that every household contributes to creating a clean air atmosphere in their surroundings.
Plants are extremely proficient at absorbing gases through pores on the surface of their leaves. It’s this skill that facilitates photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy and carbon dioxide into chemical energy to grow. But scientists studies on the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have revealed that plants can absorb many other gases most widely known as VOCs in addition to carbon dioxide. VOCs are volatile organic compounds which are present in air mainly comes from automobile exhaust and household chemical substances. For example, Benzene is found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke and formaldehyde is found in some cosmetics, dish detergent, fabric softener and carpet cleaner. Indoor plants help to absorb these chemicals and keeps the indoor air clean. The poor indoor air quality can lead to asthma, nausea, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and sometimes cancer. The use of plants to mitigate air pollution in the indoor and outdoor environment, in water and in soil is known as phytoremediation.
Indoor plants remove pollutants from the air by absorbing these gases through their leaves and roots. The microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also play an instrumental role in neutralizing VOCs and other pollutants. In 1989, NASA discovered that houseplants can absorb harmful toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little air flow. This study has been the basis for newer studies about indoor plants and their air cleaning abilities. While plants have less horsepower than air purifiers, they’re more natural, cost-effective, and therapeutic.
Plants are also known to:
- increase mood and productivity
- enhance concentration and memory
- reduce stress and fatigue
NASA recommends two or three plants in 8 to 10-inch pots for every 100 square feet. Some plants are better at removing certain chemicals than others.
Few plants which we can keep at home and which can purify air are:
- Boston Fern
All these plants can remove benzene, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide. Just be careful if you have pets and children, as this plant may be toxic when it is ingested.
Let us try to breathe clean air as much as possible.
Clean air, always fair.