Air ware

De­spite lack of con­clu­sive sci­en­tific ev­i­dence on their ef­fec­tive­ness, air pu­ri­fiers have be­come a fix­a­tion for af­flu­ent house­holds in In­dia

Down to Earth - - TECHNOLOGY - SHREESHAN VENKATESH |

Faf­flu­ent in In­dia, air pu­ri­fiOR THE ers have be­come a sta­tus sym­bol or a ne­ces­sity and even a fash­ion state­ment. Sales have more than dou­bled since 2012-13. Be­tween March 2014 and March 2015,around 100,000-125,000 units were sold across In­dia, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try es­ti­mates.The boom in the air pu­ri­fier mar­ket must be seen in the con­text of poor air qual­ity in In­dian cities. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (who) says that 13 of the 20 most pol­luted cities in the world are in In­dia. In­door air pol­lu­tion is as much a con­cern as the poor qual­ity of out­door air. Close to half a mil­lion peo­ple die each year in In­dia due to ex­po­sure to in­door air pol­lu­tion, says who. Breath­ing Delhi’s air for one day is equiv­a­lent to smok­ing 20 cig­a­rettes, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme.

So it comes as no sur­prise then that for­eign as well as In­dian com­pa­nies have set up shop to sell air pu­ri­fiers—Sharp and Pana­sonic, Philips, Blueair, Eureka Forbes, At­lanta Health­care and Kent—to cater to the ris­ing de­mand.De­vices cost be­tween 2,000 and 95,000, de­pend­ing on the brand, tech­nolo­gies used, as well as the area that pu­ri­fiers can cover.“The mar­ket is grow­ing be­cause this has a direct cor­re­la­tion with health,”says Vi­jay Kan­nan,di­rec­tor,Blueair In­dia,part of Swedish multi­na­tional,Blueair.

Stan­dar­d­is­ing pure

Yet there is lit­tle ev­i­dence about the ef­fi­cacy of the tech­nol­ogy. Air pu­ri­fiers are typ­i­cally high-tech fil­tra­tion sys­tems that clean in­door air by re­mov­ing con­tam­i­nants such as dust par­ti­cles,in­clud­ing par­tic­u­late mat­ter,pollen

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