Craving Some Fresh Air In This Pollution? You Can Grow It Yourself

Craving Some Fresh Air In This Pollution? You Can Grow It Yourself

Fit

“Every building, home or office, can have perfect air quality irrespective of the pollution outside,” claims Kamal Meattle, CEO of ‘one of the healthiest buildings’ in Delhi, Paharpur Business Centre, and an environmental activist with a TED talk and a book to his name, ‘How to Grow Fresh Air’.

So can anyone make their home “pollution-free”?

Yes, learning from our experiments and solutions using green plants, you can take some easy steps to improve your own health and well-being at your place.

FIT visited his building and Meattle told us ways in which we can “grow fresh air”.

Kamal Meattle in a corridor of his office building, Paharpur Business Centre in Delhi.
Kamal Meattle in a corridor of his office building, Paharpur Business Centre in Delhi.
(Photo: FIT)

Here’s How You Can Grow Fresh Air

Meattle explains that the steps they’ve taken to make this “green building” have all come at a low cost. “People tell us that you can only do this if you have a lot of money. But that’s not entirely true. As a result of this set up, a building’s energy consumption goes down so in fact, the money you invest in fresh air will bring down other costs for you.”

With help from technology and plants that remove pollutants from air and enrich it with oxygen, you can “grow your own fresh air”.

STEP 1: Declutter

Let's start with your bedroom.

The first step is to declutter the bedroom. Remove everything that you really don't need at night while you're going to sleep.

Ideally, it should be just your bed and no paper, no plastic, no curtains, no carpets and nothing stored inside your bedroom as such.

So that the total VOCs, or the volatile compounds really come down in your room.

STEP 2: Using the Right Plants

The second part is removing the PM 2.5 pollutants by using air purifiers or with plants.

The pollution levels in Delhi are so high that perhaps, it’s better to use technology like hepa filters. But let the plants do what machines cannot do, namely, reduce the volatile chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene.
Kamal Meattle

There are three very common plants that will help you do that.

1. Areca Palm

This you should have in your living room not so much in your bedroom. You need about four shoulder-high areca palm plants per person.

Areca Palm plant.
Areca Palm plant.
(Photo: FIT)

2. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue or Sansevieria

This is the second plant which you absolutely need. Six-eight pots with the adequate number of stems are needed to clean the air at night in your bedroom. The leaves have to be wiped each day to make sure that they're not coated with dust and their stomata are clear.

Mother-in-law’s tongue or sansevieria.
Mother-in-law’s tongue or sansevieria.
(Photo: FIT)

3. Money Plant: This works very well to remove the volatile chemicals. And as far as money plants are concerned you need as many as you can get. If you had 50-100 stems in a pot of water, took the plants out and washed them under the tap, refilled the pot with fresh water regularly and kept these pots in each room, you'll find the volatile chemicals to be very low in your house.

Money plant.
Money plant.
(Photo: FIT)

These plants must have either vermi manure which is sterile or you can have media like coco peat, perlite and charcoal for fertilisation because otherwise there would be bacteria and fungus, which you don't need in your bedroom.

So this is a very simple solution and you'll be able to grow the fresh air you need.

How Much Will It Cost?

So the solutions range right from a few hundred rupees to a lakh-and-a-half rupees, explains Meattle.

Here is an inexpensive, low-cost solution.

Low-cost solution using money plant.
Low-cost solution using money plant.
(Photo: FIT)

You can get empty bottles and fill them with things like coco peat or charcoal and use money plants.

This solution will cost you a few hundred rupees and is very effective.

And the most expensive solution would be to get a top-end machine which clears and purifies the air.

How Much Does It Benefit Us?

“Through extensive studies, we found that over the past 25 years in this building, the health and productivity of the people here has improved drastically,” says Meattle.

(Photo: FIT)

Harvard University has published a study to showcase that your cognitive abilities can go up by as much as 299%. And within 6 hours of being in this high quality or fresh air your cognitive abilities increase by 61%.

So, if you try this in your bedroom, you'll see that in the morning you're a smarter person than when you went to sleep!

Cameraperson: Abhay Sharma and Shiv Kumar Maurya
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

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