Rakesh Kr Sharma
Indoor air quality has direct impact on the health of the individual besides improving their work performance. May be shocking but the truth is that the air inside homes, offices and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. This may be due to lead (in house dust), formaldehyde (in pressed wood, few foam insulations, paper products, some paints & varnishes etc) and volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to health problems.
A healthful addition to air filtration is the use of house plants. Well spaced house plants not only gives a brighter look to the space but also purifies the air besides providing a relaxing and restful ambience. House plants detoxify the air and on the other side remove carbon dioxide and returns oxygen to the air by the basic process of photosynthesis. A number of common house plants are available for the purpose, but plants should be selected keeping in mind the type of toxicity they are able to remove from the environment.
The common house plants most effective in improving indoor air quality are:-
* Snake Plant (Sansevieria laurentii) also known as mother in law’s tongue is best for filtering out formaldehyde from the air. Since it converts carbon dioxide in to oxygen at night, it may be called a bedroom plant.
* Aloe vera, a sun loving plant helps in removing formaldehyde and benzene – a by product of chemical based cleaners, paints etc. it can be an ideal choice for sunny windows.
* Red edged dracaena is suitable for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air.
* Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a commonly found houseplant which can remove upto 90% of the toxins in the indoor air. It is the perfect plant for those who have common dust allergies.
* Golden pothos (Money plant) is characterized by its golden heart shaped leaves and preferably grows in hydroponics. It is great for offices and homes since it removes formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and other volatile chemicals in the air.
Besides these, few other plants which are excellent air purifiers includes Areca Palm, Peace Lily, Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema sp), Bamboo Palm and English Ivy.
So let’s take a step ahead and decorate our house with air purifier or more better life saver plants.
(The author is Assistant Floriculture Officer)
Rakesh Kr Sharma