A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

With pol­lu­tion at an-all time high, use plants at home as ef­fec­tive in­door air pu­ri­fiers

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Shab­nam Singh

Plants “breathe” in car­bon diox­ide and re­lease oxy­gen. This is of ut­most im­por­tance to main­tain the del­i­cate bal­ance of the earth’s at­mos­phere. While this is a com­monly known fact that takes us back to our ele­men­tary school sci­ence, a lesser­known fact is that plants can also be used to ex­tri­cate harm­ful chem­i­cals from the air we breathe in­side our homes.

Stud­ies con­ducted by NASA have un­earthed that cer­tain plants used as house­plants can act as “fil­ters” to ef­fec­tively re­move tox­ins from in­door air and re­place it with breath­able oxy­gen.

Keep­ing in mind the fact that pol­lu­tion lev­els are at an all time high and Di­wali is round the c or ner, which along with its fes­tiv­i­ties has ad­verse en­vi­ron­men­tal reper­cus­sions, pure breath­able air in our own homes has never been more im­por­tant.

The up­side to this rather se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion is that most of the plants are not only vis­ually ap­peal­ing, th­ese are also eas­ily avail­able and re­quire min­i­mum care and main­te­nance. A few sim­ple tips to beau­tify a cor­ner in your house will si­mul­ta­ne­ously elim­i­nate sig­nif­i­cant amounts of ben­zene, formalde­hyde and other harm­ful sub­stances.

For in­stance, Sansevieria, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is one of the best for fil­ter­ing out formalde­hyde, which is com­mon in clean­ing prod­ucts, toi­let pa­per, tis­sues and per­sonal care prod­ucts. Put one in your bath­room

— it’ll thrive with low light and steamy hu­mid con­di­tions while help­ing fil­ter out air pol­lu­tants.

Like­wise, Dra­caena Marginata ( or red- edged Dra­caena) is op­ti­mum for re­mov­ing xy­lene, trichloroethy­lene and formalde­hyde, which can be in­tro­duced to in­door air through lac­quers, var nishes and gaso­line. Ad­di­tion­ally, the red edges of this plant add a pop of color to any dull cor­ner of the house.

Fi­cus Benjamina re­quires slightly more at­ten­tion, but once you get the light and wa­ter con­di­tions right, this plant can act as a pow­er­ful fil­ter in your liv­ing room for pol­lu­tants re­leased by car­pet­ing and fur­ni­ture.

Other eas­ily avail­able, aes­thet­i­cally ap­peal­ing plants that have great air pu­ri­fy­ing qual­i­ties are Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Dra­caena Janet Craig, Bam­boo Palm, Fi­cus Ro­busta, Philodendron and Fi­cus Alii.

Plants can be worked into gar­dens and land­scapes in a cre­ative man­ner. An­other help­ful tech­nique is to use coco-peat as a plant­ing/pot­ting medicine. It is a myth that gar­dens con­sume “too” much wa­ter - log­i­cal wa­ter­ing pat­terns not only safe­guard the nat­u­ral re­source but add to the eco­log­i­cal growth of a gar­den- no plant likes ex­ces­sive wa­ter any­way.

Use eco- friendly pot­ting tech­niques for in­door and out­door pur­poses - the air has so many pol­lu­tants each one of us must try and do our bit.

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