Believe it or not, but 4.3 million people worldwide die due to poor air quality prevailing inside the house according to report by the World Health Organisation. Indoor air pollution is as much a cause of concern as the outdoor air pollution, be it at home, workplace or in the car, which can seriously take a toll on one’s health and cause respiratory diseases and cancers. Children, elderly and people with asthma are at greater risks as their immune systems are more vulnerable to dust particles. Nearly 3.8 million premature deaths occur annually from non-communicable diseases including stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer which are attributed to exposure to household air pollution.
The level of air pollution in any given house is dependent on several factors which range from cleaning products, cooking, perfumes, furnishings, detergents to fragrances. Even a simple act of peeling an orange or moving from one place to another can change the magnitude of dust particles in the house.
Experts believe that most of the indoor pollutants are increased by our own lifestyles and habits. However the good news is that indoor air pollution is manageable. There are several simple and easy steps that you can take to keep your house clean and free of the polluting substances. Here six steps that can help check indoor pollution:
1) Keeps Your House Swachh For Swachh Hawa
While we may keep our homes clean as per conventional standards, dust particles are something that makes its way in to a home just like air. Hence thorough cleaning and dusting using the eco-friendly cleaning equipments is a must. Every house has that one dedicated corner kept for dumping cluttered items. Minimize your clutter from this ignored corner that accumulates dust which carries bacteria, mold, mites and fungi to reduce pollution. Regularly clean the high traffic areas like carpet edges, furniture corners, walls where dust accumulation is the highest.
Placing a doormat outside washrooms, in every room and outside the door can prevent dirt from spreading in other areas of the house. Or simply ask the members to remove shoes outside the house or near the door. Choose hard-surface floors as they are easy to clean. Carpets can let dirt and pet hair escape back into the air. Use sliced lemons and baking soda to maintain a pleasant smell in the house.
2) Enhance The Role Of Ventilation And Air Filters
If the ventilation in workplace, house or car is poor and the scope of breathing fresh air is less it can cause serious health problems in the long run. Conventional way to get fresh air and avoid accumulation of toxic chemicals is simply by opening up windows. Although this option isn’t always feasible due to allergies or extreme temperature, get your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems) checked regularly. Make sure your gas stove is well-ventilated to limit the production of harmful gases like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.
3) Test Car Emission Levels Regularly
In today’s time and age, a ride by car means having windows rolled down to avoid the outdoor pollution especially during traffic jams. Thus it makes it crucial for the inside of the car to remain clean and one way to ensure that is by having car’s emissions tested regularly.
According to studies done by NASA, certain plants can naturally purify the indoor air by getting rid of the toxins. Plants like spider plant, fern, ivy, peace lily can significantly curb the air pollutants. These plants are easy to grow and help in reducing mold and allergens, perfect for people with dust allergies. Aloe Vera, known for its healing abilities provide for an alternative to cleaners which contain harmful chemicals.
5) Managing Waste At Home
Yes, Centre’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan which emphasises on treating waste efficiently can indirectly help in reducing indoor air pollution. When the trash is not covered and left in the open, insects and pests breed on them. To get rid of them pesticides containing chemicals are used. These chemical products often release toxic substances which get mixed with the air, often polluting it. Avoid using artificial air fresheners to get rid of odors as they are derived from petroleum products, thus emitting dozens of different chemicals into the air.
6) Have A Healthy Level Of Humidity At Home
Dust mites and mold love moisture. Molds which carry tiny particles can easily enter the body causing illnesses like cold, cough and other fungal infections. Ensure proper ventilation in damp areas like bathroom or where plants are kept. Install exhaust hoods or fans in kitchen and bathroom to reduce humidity. Fix water leaks which contribute in building up moisture to prevent molds from developing in the house.