Once again the level of pollution increases in Delhi and NCR and discussion on odd and even vehicular traffic and other remedial measure are being considered. Some suggest to buy air purifiers and some about masks and Honorable Supreme Court had to intervene to consider the plying of solar/ electric vehicles. Even in Jammu we see policemen are using masks to prevent themselves from the hazards of pollution. In the recent sarcasm to the growing problem, it is said, that, previously schools and study centers were closed for winter vacations, summer vacations and now for the ‘most polluted days’. One cannot take air purifier 24/7 with them and cannot use air masks all the time, we have to think permanent remedial measures so that we can live in good environment all the time. As a plant lover, I am more interested in suggesting ways to purify the air by adopting natural ways by planting Oxygen Bomb plants (Air purifier and Oxygen enriching plants)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Clean Air study led by NASA and Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) suggested that there is list of plants that remove toxins like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, helping neutralizing the effect of pollution, as most plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The research also suggests that efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100sq.ft home or office space. The plants identified by NASA in their studies will help us to grow our own fresh air to keep us healthy.
An Air purifier costs about seven thousands to 15 thousands and for purifying the same air space cost of plants can be mere five hundred rupees. Everyone would love to have a fresh, clean living space and clean air to breathe and house plants are excellent indoor and outdoor air cleaners, some are more effective than others at filtering pollutants and toxins in the air.
The below mentioned plants have the ability to resolve this problem, just keep one or two plants inside your room, courtyard, office rooms per 100sq.ft to 200sq.ft.
*Arica Palm:- is used for bright interior and as air purifying plant. It requires sufficient indirect sunlight and water. It removes Xylene, toluene and formaldehyde from the air.
*Boston fern:-Best and popular house plant, removes pollutants like xylene, benzene and formaldehyde from the air. This can be used outside also.
*Snake plant (Sansevieria).It is the most adoptable of house plants and easy to grow. Removes pollutants from air such toluene and formaldehyde.
*Spider plant (cholorophytem):- Most adoptable and easy to grow and considered as best air purifying plant. Removes xylene, benzene and toluene.
*Money plant (Epipremum aureum) Best air purifying plant. It removes pollutant like benzene, xylene, and formaldehyde.
*Ficus benzamina (weeping fig) Excellent indoor and outdoor plant easy to grow and removes toxins like xylene and formaldehyde from the air.
*Dracenea :-Easy to grow best indoor and outdoor plant, Removes benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene
*Peace lily:-Excellent choice for home or office and removes toxins like ammonia, benzene and trichloroethylene.
*English Ivy (hedera helix):- it is excellent, evergreen and superb climber and can climb any surface. It removes pollutants like xylene, benzene formaldehyde from the polluted air.
*Anthurium (Flamingo lily) Best air purifying plant and it adds beauty of your home with red and heart shaped flowers and removes toxins like benzene, formaldehyde from air.
Since this is the hot topic every individual is discussing the SMOG issue daily on TV discussions, social media, street, whats app and even in offices and restaurants.
Even Dr. Trehans has also discussed this issue on TV channels suggested certain measures of putting air purifiers of right capacity in the rooms. Air purifier plants are the best option of purifying the air as this encourages us to live in the nature and we can replace the plants at will after every few days with another of your choice to give the pleasant look to your room and courtyard but we cannot change the air purifier at will because of its cost.
We can try-some of the plants outside also like Ficus, snake plants, Dracenea, Boston L fern, peepal tree, neem tree and Aloe Vera with this we can contribute to society with growing our own fresh air to keep us healthy.
(The author is Joint Director, Department of Floriculture)