Tech BaT­Tles The air Pol­lu­Tion Mon­sTer

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

ABLARING ALARM goes off and the trans­par­ent dome slowly low­ers it­self. The en­tire city is in lock­down mode. Giant tur­bine fans on top of each build­ing kick in, suck­ing mas­sive amounts of air and pass­ing them through mon­ster fil­ters. Large truck­mounted air pu­ri­fier ma­chines start to move into the most pol­luted ar­eas. W ithin min­utes the air in the city is pure just like moun­tain air.

In the TV se­ries Un­der the Dome, a mys­te­ri­ous dome cuts off a city from the rest of the world. A trans­par­ent dome act­ing as an air pol­lu­tion bar­rier for an en­tire city is ex­cit­ing. Any air pol­lu­tant from out­side wouldn’t make it in, while largescale air fil­tra­tion tech­nol­ogy would pu­rify the air within. Un­for­tu­nately, the re­al­ity is that no dome is be­ing con­structed to pro­tect us – now or in the fu­ture.

Air pol­lu­tion now is the world’s largest sin­gle en­vi­ron­men­tal health risk and re­ports state that an­nu­ally about 14 mil­lion peo­ple pre­ma­turely die as a re­sult. Th­ese stag­ger­ing num­bers con­firm that tak­ing dras­tic mea­sures against this mon­ster is now beyond crit­i­cal.

What works and what doesn’t in this bat­tle against pol­lu­tion

SCHOOLS AND AIR PURIFIERS

Air purifiers are ef­fec­tive in a closed room en­vi­ron­ment but that adds a lot of car­bon diox­ide to your room. The amount of car­bon-diox­ide emit­ted by 30 to 40 chil­dren in a closed class­room could be even worse than the pol­lu­tion. Only a cen­tralised air pol­lu­tion con­trol blower sys­tem would work

’s some­thing schools need to plan and bud­get for. An in-car air pu­ri­fier is as im­por­tant as one in your room. Switch on your AC in the car, shut off the com­pres­sor, strap a HEPA fil­ter on the blower vent, set the air for re­cir­cu­la­tion and you’ve just made your car air pris­tine clean.

AIR QUAL­ITY MON­I­TOR

Buy a por­ta­ble one that works plugged in and on bat­tery. It will gauge how ef­fec­tive your air pu­ri­fier is, how pol­luted your car is, the most af­fected ar­eas in your house, faulty win­dows or doors leak­ing in out­side air, how bad the air is out­side and if you should go for a run or a walk – and about a dozen other ar­eas where you need to know what you’re breath­ing.

STUBBLE BURN­ING THE MAIN CULPRIT?

One of the cul­prits, but it is not the ma­jor one. If crop burn­ing in Pun­jab and other states was the main rea­son then ev­ery sin­gle town and city along the way should be as pol­luted, why just Delhi? The pol­lu­tants ob­vi­ously don’t Star Trek them­selves only into this city. Ban­ning crop burn­ing isn’t the so­lu­tion; mon­etis­ing what they plan to burn is. If farm­ers see even a lit­tle value for the stubble, they will sell it rather than burn it.

EN­TIRE CITY SOLUTIONS

The usual cul­prits would be bet­ter traf­fic man­age­ment, strict ‘pol­lu­tion toll tax’ in con­gested ar­eas, shut­ting down coal burn­ing power plants or in­stalling fil­tra­tion sys­tems at source, and strict mon­i­tor­ing of pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries around the city. Un­for­tu­nately, this needs more po­lit­i­cal will than we have right now.

EX­PER­I­MEN­TAL BUT RAD­I­CAL

Could ev­ery sin­gle car and ev­ery sin­gle build­ing be­come an air pu­ri­fier? By re­jig­ging and in­stalling HEPA level fil­ters in the air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem of ALL cars and ALL AC plants of build­ings in a city, you could the­o­ret­i­cally cre­ate a mas­sive grid of mov­ing air purifiers and giant fil­ters that could clean a city’s air upto 25 per­cent. It’s rad­i­cal but doable.

Till then, the only so­lu­tion is a giant dome cov­er­ing the en­tire city. W e would ac­tu­ally wel­come it.

GAUGE THE DAM­AGE Air mon itors can play a part by tellin g you how pol­luted the air is

IN YOUR CAR In -car air purifiers can help to keep the air in side your

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.