Everyone knows that air pollution in India has reached alarming levels. We read about deteriorating air quality in the newspapers all the time. Whether you live in the cities or in rural regions, you can’t really escape from the toxic emissions of carbon dioxide and other dangerous fumes. Pollution claims lives every year in India. That is why scientists and environmentalists are racing against time to come up with strategies to curb this menace. And the government too is fully behind them.
And even if more pollution regulatory measures are put in place, they won’t entirely solve the problem. Because they will only scale down outdoor air pollution. But another type of pollution exists which not many people are aware of is indoor air pollution. Yes, there are plenty of pollutants right inside your home. And they are more harmful than their outdoor counterparts.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
The walls and roof of your home protect you from the elements- torrential rain, blistering sun, hailstorms and dust storms. Houses are shelters that human beings began to construct nearly 10,000 years ago. But, our early ancestors built houses keeping in mind the terrain, the wind patterns, the climatic conditions etc. so that the air inside would always be fresh and clean.
Over the last century, houses have witnessed a change in basic architecture to promote greater levels of privacy. In a hot and humid country like India, rooms require large windows and doors and greater exposure to the outside to allow effective air circulation. But in most houses today, the size of the windows and doors have shrunk.
And due to this, the stale and old air inside your home finds no outlet and fresh air from outside cannot come in either.
Another reason why indoor air quality is declining is the absence of ventilators. These are smaller versions of windows bored into the walls near the ceilings. They help in establishing an air cycle inside a room by allowing warm air to escape so that cool air can take its place.
But, when there are no ventilators the warm air is trapped inside. And it’s not just the warm air that gets trapped but also the indoor air pollutants such as harmful mould spores, cigarette smoke, residues of cleaning chemicals, beauty products or particles emitted when you cook or use your fridge and air conditioner.
Why is Indoor Air Pollution More Dangerous?
There are two reasons why pollutants inside the house, though they may be the same as the ones outdoor, pose a bigger threat to your health.
1. Higher concentration –
The indoor pollutants are more densely concentrated than outside. Simply because there are limited space and air in your home than the outside. And that is why the pollutants are more closely packed. And with each breath, you are inhaling a larger volume of pollutants than you do outside your home.
Winds are stronger outside than inside so pollutants outside can be blown away. Similarly, a spell of rain can also bring down the level of pollutants. But this is not the case indoors.
2. Exposure –
Most people spend a significant amount of time indoors than outside. That is why they are exposed to a concentrated volume of toxic matter for a considerable amount of time.
What are the Health effects of Pollution especially Indoor Pollution?
Indoor air pollution can lead to ailments such as –
- It can cause breathing difficulties
- Trigger asthma
- Skin problems
- Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Can you reduce Indoor Air Pollution?
There are a few things you can do to mitigate indoor air pollution-
- Never smoke inside the house
- Ensure that you have well-ventilated rooms
- Keep your doors and windows open for as long as possible
- Use herbal surface cleaners
- Air out your pillows, mattresses and blankets to reduce spores
- Use ACs as infrequently as possible
Indoor air pollution is more lethal than outdoor pollution. Yet it is easier to curb than the outside version. So take heed and adopt the measures we suggest for the sake of your own health.