Nandini YadavNov 28, 2019 19:00:09 IST
Hi I am Nandini, and I am a Chionophile (winter-loving creature).
From the bone-biting chills to wearing puffy clothes, from festivities and lightings to all the winter-calories, I love everything about winter, and I am sure, many of you do too. But even if you don’t, what I am addressing today affects every living soul on this planet.
We are all dying from severe pollution, in some form or the other. And in places like Delhi NCR where the air is especially affected, pollution is at its worse during the five months of winter.
The pathetic air in and around the city has been causing serious respiratory and bronchial disorder among many residents.
As on 31 October 2018, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 252.38, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board. For perspective, an AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.
Now, if you get my drift, I want to share with you six smart ways in which you can deal with the Delhi air pollution, and make these winters, at least, slightly better for yourself.
Outdoor Pollution measuring apps
There are a bunch of pollution measuring apps on both iOS and Android that let you measure the level of pollution outside of your house, with a proper breakdown of PM2.5, PM10, O3 and the other particulate levels. You can check hourly, daily and weekly graphs of pollution as well.
Two apps that I really liked were AirQuality, and SAFAR-Air, both of these apps are free and are available on both Android and iOS. SAFAR-Air is by the Indian government. UI-wise, the app’s aesthetics aren’t its strong suit, but data-wise it’s quite accurate.
Air Pollution sensors for home
Whenever we see pollution outside, we run inside our homes and pretty much seal it entirely so none of the “bad air” gets in. But the truth is, the air inside homes, offices and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. In addition to all the crap there is in the outdoor air, the indoor air also has fumes from the paints on the wall, air fresheners, your perfumes and deodorants and all the khaane ka tadka mixed in it, which makes it so much worse.
A way to keep track of all this is by using little devices called Air pollution sensors that you can buy off Amazon or Flipkart for a starting price of Rs 2,000, and they can go up to Rs 15,000. There are sensors by Honeywell, Airveda, Kaiterra, that you can choose from.
Considering how bad winters can get, seeing Air Purifiers as a necessity is a good idea. While I wouldn’t exactly say that you can buy an air purifier in a budget, companies like Xiaomi and Philips have air purifiers at a starting price of Rs 8,000. There are the Mi Air Purifier 2s and Philips 1000. Honeywell is another brand that makes very good air purifiers within the range of Rs 9,000 to Rs 15,000. And if you want to go premium, then there are Dyson’s air purifiers, that are both efficient, and beautiful look, and will cost you around Rs 45,000. You can read the review of the new Dyson air purifier here. You can also check out our review of the Mi Air Purifier 2.
This very basic advice that probably every radio channel and every PSA on TV will give you every winter — wear masks. It's sensible advice and essential for protection, but many of us still fail to use them. There are 3M pollution masks with green patches and filters that are considered pretty effective. You can also go for N99 masks. Both of these brands of masks are available at most local pharmacies and cost about Rs 150. And if you are willing to shell out a little extra, then there are Respro masks, that cost about Rs 1,000 and feature slightly better technology, with an Airflow Valve System that filters out very tiny particulate matter as well.
Create less pollution indoors
I have mentioned many ways to monitor and correct (to some extent) the pollution indoors, but it is equally important that we learn how to control creating pollution as well. Of course, pooling your car rides and planting more trees are some of the ways to help the air outdoors, but indoors, we need to do as much too.
To begin with, at least for a few days during the winters, when it’s unbearable outside, quit sweeping the floor. When you sweep your floor, all that dust on the floor rises up and it adds to the respiratory discomfort that you feel. You could possibly swap that with either vacuuming or maybe just stick to mopping. Mopping doesn’t let the dust rise up and cleans everything right off the floor.
Another measure, in addition to air purifiers, is keeping plants in your house. You could choose from plants like ficus, Areca Palm tree, money plant, bamboo palm and even rubber plant, all of which are easily available at any local plant nursery.
Now, the jury’s still out as to whether the benefits of exercise outweigh the negative effects of pollution. Either way, working out keeps your lungs healthy. But the ideal time for workout during pollution-heavy days would be early in the morning and late in the evening. BUT DO NOT FORGET TO WEAR YOUR MASK.
You can always work out at home, next to an air purifier and the plants too, that’s what I do.
Here’s hoping that winters this year are slightly better for you than what they have been in the last few years. Happy Diwali, happy festivities, and happy new year to you, from Team Tech2
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