Greenpiece: The need to focus on indoor air
Irrespective of economic background, it is high time people start thinking about indoor air quality, because we spend so much time indoors now. We focus on outdoor air, but forget how toxic indoor air is-even in a fancy home. Why breathe in all that pollution?
In most homes, people burn agarbattis or camphor. Both these intensify pollution with health impact. We think they purify the air -- a cultural construct. Today, science is telling us to stop it.
Many people have taken to rugs all over their home. It’s a great dust vault. And dust is nothing but collection of chemical particles, many very toxic. We breathe those too.
Sometimes, we use electric mosquito repellents-the particles stay on. Wood polish, some PVC materials and many other products might harm us silently. When we spend more time at home, we are increasing our exposure, and that of our children. Many use solid fuels, the source of some of the deadliest air pollution. Most of this impacts women and infants, reducing their live span.
With working from home being the new normal, more people will have to spend time inside. If we want to protect ourselves, we must clean up the air inside. Some of this we can do ourselves.
But we also need standards and government oversight around indoor products. We need an aggressive campaign for an urbanized Ujjwala model of clean fuel for the poor. But first of all, we must agree that indoor air pollution is also a big problem.
(The writer is the founder and director of the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)