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Plants that can reduce the air pollution inside your home

Along with good design and architecture, many plants can help bring down the concentration of indoor air pollutants

Spider plants are top performers 
Spider plants are top performers  (Brad Christian/Unsplash)

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With most of us spending the majority of our time indoors, esepcially in these last couple of years, it is essential to ensure a comfortable, productive, and healthy indoor environmental quality by following well-regulated parameters and design practices that consider temperature, lighting, noise pollution, proper ventilation, and the quality of the air we breathe. 

The latter is especially important, since contrary to what we might think, air pollution is much higher indoors than outdoor. 

Most people, when they think of air pollution, think of smog and car emissions or grey smoke from factories. This is what is called outdoor air pollution, but indoor air pollution is just as pervasive. Indoor air pollution occurs when pollutants from particles and gases contaminate the air of indoor areas. While the poor quality air is at least circulated outdoors, closed environments have particulate matter (PM10 and PM 2.5), viruses, and other outdoor pollutants that stay in the environment. These settle in the respiratory tract causing health issues. In the pandemic era, when people have started taking care of their health an extra notch, it's time for us to pay attention to this issue.

How designers and architecture can reduce indoor air pollution

Good architecture and design are the most important means of reducing and controlling the growth of indoor air pollutants. 

Proper natural ventilation is one of the first considerations while designing a home. A well thought-out layout with a good orientation promotes an effective airflow through the space. Implementing a functional ventilation system indoors would contribute to the dilution of some pollutants.

Implementing smart mechanical ventilation/air-conditioning systems with proper filtration and heat/cold recovery is also effective. With natural ventilation, artificial indoor heating and cooling systems could be equipped with anti-pollution filters that would reduce the risk of higher pollution.

How plants can help you achieve clean air goals 

Not to forget, one of the most helpful ways to mitigate the propagation of indoor air pollutants by going biophilic. A biophilic design not only promotes connecting the indoors and outdoors but also brings in the factor of using non-toxic modern materials that are purposely created for safe indoor constructions and use. Using green-labelled or health certified items is a factor of biophilic design to diminish indoor air pollution. 

Plants have become a great way to remove indoor air pollutants. Some of the most effective plants are:

  1. English ivy: -A classically elegant plant that is also excellent for removing harmful chemicals found in the home.
  2. Peace lily: Known for its ability to fight against toxic gases such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, peace lilies are relatively easy to care for and even show signs of drooping when they need to be watered.
  3. Rubber tree: Rubber trees have been shown to absorb and break down harmful chemicals in the air.
  4. Pathos: -Pathos earned high marks in a NASA clean air study for clearing the air of benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, carbon monoxide and xylene.
  5. Aloe Vera: succulent that can filter harmful chemicals. Present in 250 varieties which is easy-to-grow and requires a lot of sunlight.
  6. Spider Plant: It is one of the best indoor plants to remove formaldehyde from indoor air. It also another harmful pollutant. One can neglect this plant, but its resilience keeps it alive.
  7. Bamboo palm: This plant is a natural humidifier which can be beneficial in areas with dry air. It helps eliminate carbon monoxide, xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde. They thrive in shady indoor spaces and often produce small flowers and berries.

Amardeep Gulri is an interior designer and founder of the New Delhi-based interior design firm Deco-Arte.  




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