After a few days of improvement in the air quality in Delhi NCR, pollution levels rose again on Thursday, bringing the AQI back to the severe category. And while it is definitely not safe to step out and breathe that noxious air, the quality indoors isn't any better either. According to a recent report by India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU), the city's air quality is so bad that it may cut the life expectancy of Delhiites short by 17 years. Could it get any worse? In such a scenario, it is wise to do all that we can to fight this emergency situation.
Since having masks on 24x7 is not really a practical solution, there are a few indoor plants that might come to your rescue. According to NASA Clean Air Study, there are indoor plants that may help remove certain toxic pollutants that enter your home from outdoor air, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air that we breathe.
The study suggests that the bigger and leafier the plant, the better. Bill Wolverton, a former NASA research scientist who conducted the study, however, also suggests that it is next to impossible to guess the number of plants that may be required to clean a room of its contaminants. His usual recommendation is "good-sized" plants per 100 square feet of interior space. We have compiled a list of the NASA-approved indoor plants that might help you. However, remember that you will have to put one at every 100 square feet of your house.
According to the NASA Clean Air Study, spider plants help fight against toxic air elements like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, xylene. The best part about the plant is that it is easy to maintain and does not require direct sunlight to thrive.
English Ivy is a houseplant that can facilitate getting rid of pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air and will help you fight respiratory disorders and headaches.
Barberton daisy or Gerbera jamesonii is a houseplant that can help cleanse the air by helping you get rid of formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. However, this plant requires some amount of care. You will have to keep it in an area that gets plenty of natural light.
This is the easiest succulent to maintain as aloe vera does not require any direct sunlight. It helps filter gases like benzene and formaldehyde and has various other benefits too -- such as being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Also known as the mother-in-law's tongue, this is a plant that eventually takes up a dense form and requires minimal sunlight. It is one of the sturdiest houseplants and can help you get rid of pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. Not just pollutants, but it is great to have this plant in your bedroom as it releases oxygen at night.
The best thing about the bamboo plant is that it does not need regular watering. It can help you breathe cleaner air as it helps eliminate air toxins like carbon monoxide, xylene, benzene and formaldehyde. You can keep these in a shady indoor space and then not really bother about subjecting it to sunlight every now and then.
Ficus Benjamina, which is also known as Weeping Fig is an extremely low-maintenance evergreen houseplant. NASA's Clean Air Study suggests that it can help you get rid of airborne formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. Just one piece of advice -- when you keep it indoors, make sure you place it in an area that has bright indirect natural light.
If you are one of those people who forget to water their plants, then Pothos is the houseplant you should get. The plant can live in areas that have fluorescent lighting. It is an excellent plant to have for your office rooms or even bedrooms. It can help purify indoor air of chemicals such as formaldehyde, trichloroethene, toluene, xylene, and benzene.
Peace Lily is a plant that requires very little water and that is why it is extremely popular indoor plant. You will only need to water this one once a week!
Also known as Hardy Garden Mum, this houseplant can also help cleanse the air of compounds like formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene that are quite common indoors.
This low-maintenance plant requires indirect sunlight and moist soil to stay alive. It is one of the most efficient plants at removing formaldehyde from the air including benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene.
Ferns are extremely popular houseplants that mostly help in eliminating toxins such as formaldehyde from the air. Besides, it also helps restore moisture in the air and therefore, a must-have in your room if you have dry skin or skin allergies. Thanks to pollution, most of us are actually facing skin irritation and allergies.
Just remember to keep your Boston Fern in indirect sunlight and water it as often as you can.
The Heartleaf Philodendron is a low-maintenance plant and can prove to be an excellent choice for removing formaldehyde, which is the most common toxic compound found indoors.
The Eucalyptus plant does not require much care and has excellent medicinal properties. It not only eliminates toxins from the air but just the fragrance of the plant helps reduce congestion problems and other respiratory issues.
As the name suggests, these plants are violet in colour and can increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. You just need to keep them in direct sunlight and they will stay alive for the longest time. They help remove toxic formaldehyde from the air and will also be a treat for your eyes!
Meanwhile, Luz Claudio, professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, reviewed research on the air-quality benefits of indoor plants. She observed that plants are not capable of removing volatile chemical toxins from the air under normal conditions but might help you get rid of pollutants "under laboratory conditions." Well, this is when man-made air-purifiers can help you. Here are a few:
Slightly heavy on the pocket, this air purifier removes 99.95% of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.1 microns. It also contains a second layer of tris-coated activated carbon that can capture other potentially harmful toxins indoors.
This one is a high-end purifier that has some amazing reviews. This air purifier by Philips has a light indicator that changes colour in response to the indoor air quality. This, therefore, enables you to adjust the fan speed accordingly.
This best-seller air purifier not only is light on your pocket but takes in air from both the sides. The only little drawback, however, could be that you need to install it yourself and replace the filters from time to time.
This one is a highly effective room air purifier. It has a high-efficiency particulate arrestant (HEPA) and its filter can clean pollutants upto 0.02 microns. It, however, has a coverage area of 35 sq m.
Samsung AX5500 is an air purifier that comes with the capability of drawing air from the front side. It can be highly effective as it covers a wider area of up to 60 square meters. It is not only capable of removing ultrafine dust but, also eliminates harmful viruses and gases with its four-step purification system.
You can, thereby, according to your preferences, either choose to go the organic way to battle pollutants or opt for a more practical and tested alternative of buying an air purifier, which also comes with a warranty.
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