Air pollution levels in Delhi have seen an uptick after Diwali, to no one's surprise. While residents will be relieved to hear that the air quality levels are not as severe as they were last year, the air pollution in the city is pretty low and poses a danger to everyone. Heavy particulate matter and toxic gases have filled the air both inside and outside the home. But don't lose hope! Here are 5 ways you can use technology to tackle air pollution inside your home and outside.
1. Air purifiers for homes
You might feel that you'll be okay in your home, but that's not really true. Air pollution is as big a problem indoors as it is outdoors, studies claim. It comes as no surprise that manufacturers of home air purifiers started focussing on the Indian market over the past couple of years, with brands like Xiaomi, Eureka Forbes, Philips, and Samsung, among others, releasing products across different price ranges.
Entry-level air purifiers cater to a 14x12-feet room with ease, while more expensive models are meant for bigger areas. Prices of the base models start close to Rs. 10,000 and can easily go up to around Rs 40,000.
Most manufacturers claim that their air purifiers can eliminate dust, pollen, allergens, particulate matter, and odour from the air to make it cleaner and more breathable. You need to look for models with HEPA filters (an international standard air filter that can trap particulate matter) and four filtration layers, but if you have some budget constraints, then there are several models with three filtration layers. For typical respiratory issues, the purifier must filter out PM 2.5 particles.
While most air purifiers in India come with manual controls or a touch panel, there are a few models that can be controlled via a smartphone app, such as the Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2 (Rs. 8,999), and the Honeywell Air Touch-S (Rs. 33,000). You'll need to replace the filters every six months to a year; this will set you back by anywhere between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 5,000, depending on the device you purchase.
2. Portable air purifiers
There are some problems with the air purifiers mentioned above. They are bulky, and thus hard to move in your house - so you'll need to buy multiple units - and they are pretty expensive too. If spending Rs. 10,000 or more on home air purifiers seems expensive, then you can opt for portable air purifiers.
Priced at around Rs. 5,000 on average, portable air purifiers can clean the air in much smaller area (roughly 50 square feet) than their full-size counterparts, but are an effective option; however, most portable air purifiers do not use HEPA filters. The purifiers are still helpful, though not to the same degree. On the other hand, most portable purifiers come with washable filters, so it's a very budget friendly option.
The small size of portable air purifiers ensures that you can tuck them in the suitcase when you go on a trip or move them between your house, cubicle, and car effortlessly.
3. In-car air purifiers
Travelling on dusty roads and fume-laden environments on a regular basis? Then maybe it is time to invest in an in-car air purifier. This is another growing segment of this market, with products available at starting price of around Rs. 2,500. Most models can be attached to the car cigarette lighter port and are quite light in weight.
The in-car air purifiers you find are actually ionisers, which emit negatively charged ions that attach themselves to particles in the air. These particles then settle down on the floor of the car, seats, and elsewhere as dust. This ensures that the dust particles are not airborne anymore, though it does mean that you will have to properly clean your car a lot more.
On the other hand, there are some air purifiers that claim to purify the air using ozone disinfection technology. These air purifiers are known for eliminating mould and mildew, as well as removing odours by releasing ozone into the car. However, people who suffer from asthma should not buy this type of purifier because long-term ozone exposure can cause scarring of the lungs.
4. Air purifying bulb
Some companies in India are also selling air purifying bulbs that are essentially ionisers which make sure the particles in the air settle down on the floor. These are effective in reducing smoke and dust from cigarettes, cooking materials, and incense, as well as tackling pet dander and (to an extent) mildew.
These are ideal for small areas, such as bathrooms, large closets, kitchens, laundry area, and can range from Rs. 700 to Rs. 3,000, depending on brand. Eureka Forbes has one such bulb you can buy for under Rs. 1,000.
5. Air quality monitors
Fighting air pollution in Delhi and other cities is also about knowing what's around you and an air quality monitor will let you test and analyse the quality of air in your surroundings. Though they do not act as an air purifying tool, the ambient air quality monitors can show you the temperature, humidity, particulate matter, CO2 values, and dust levels. These can also tell you if the air quality in your surroundings is good, normal, poor, or at alarming levels. However, you will still need to purchase an air purifier to rid the surroundings of allergens and pollutants.