Tech­nol­ogy FighTs Air Pol­lu­Tion Mon­sTer

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

IT ALL started with an im­pul­sive de­ci­sion to es­cape ‘choked Delhi on Di­wali’. Hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced mind­crunch­ing traf­fic jams mixed with lung-crush­ing toxic air the pre­vi­ous year, I went on a trip deep into the moun­tains three days prior to the fes­ti­val that cel­e­brates vic­tory of knowl­edge over ig­no­rance. The trip trig­gered off a chain of events that even­tu­ally led to the re­al­i­sa­tion that we all talk a lot about ‘air pol­lu­tion’ but know very less and do even lesser about it. Here is my ef­fort to spread a lit­tle knowl­edge and ban­ish some ig­no­rance. Nope, haven’t been paid by the All In­dia Air Pu­ri­fier As­so­ci­a­tion Bribes and Kick­back de­part­ment. Just stat­ing the facts. Al­most any re­port by the me­dia tends to have a strange foot­note stat­ing that the health ben­e­fits of air pu­ri­fiers haven’t been proven! What? A de­vice that re­duces in­door air pol­lu­tion so that what we breathe is 10 times cleaner hasn’t been proven? To make sure this no­tion is dead and buried once and for all I armed my­self with 3 dif­fer­ent AQI mon­i­tors (the Laser Egg, the Airveda and a Dy­los) and did this ex­per­i­ment. I tested the AQI out­side and then in­side in three dif­fer­ent rooms late at night with no air pu­ri­fier on and then re­peated the same with an air pu­ri­fier in each room set to Turbo mode for 20 min­utes. All the mon­i­tors re­ported a room that wasn’t in the danger zone any­more with air lev­els about 12 times cleaner than out­side and about five to six times cleaner in­side than be­fore the pu­ri­fiers started to blow.

How air pu­ri­fiers can ac­tu­ally help you breathe bet­ter

A FEW CAVEATS

The kind of air pu­ri­fier mat­ters a whole lot. A HEPA (high ef­fi­ciency par­tic­u­late air) fil­ter is crit­i­cal, one that also has a hu­mid­i­fier built in is great, if it has an Air Qual­ity Sen­sor that can also re­port to an app then you’re golden. But if that fil­ter in­side is all-clogged-up, then it’s even worse than not hav­ing a pu­ri­fier at all. Also, don’t put your pu­ri­fier on sleep mode at night. Leave it on auto mode and learn to live with that whirring sound. Shut off the pu­ri­fier when you leave home, it in­creases the fil­ter’s life and your room can be brought back to safe lev­els within min­utes of be­ing switched on again. Keep the unit in an el­e­vated po­si­tion and off the floor – it’s more ef­fi­cient and doesn’t just suck in house dust. Re­mem­ber, the pu­ri­fier can’t pu­rify the air in your whole house, just your room. Air the house ev­ery­day in the af­ter­noon (spe­cially if the sun is out) by open­ing the win­dows and door and putting on the fan at full speed for a few min­utes.

That’s part one. Which air pu­ri­fier to buy, how to make one your­self, how pol­luted is the air in your car and ‘do pol­lu­tion face masks work?’ and much more in next week’s col­umn. Till then: ‘Don’t breathe!’

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