According to World Health Organisation, India is ranked among the world’s worst for its air pollution, with 13 out of 20 most polluted cities of the world in India alone. And due to the increasing level of pollution in the country the number of deaths due to pulmonary and respiratory diseases is also shooting up significantly.
To keep themselves from falling ill, most people opt at staying indoors to avoid contact with the outdoor air and feel protected within the confines of their home. However, most of us do not realise that the air inside our homes can be up to 10 times more polluted than the outside air, according to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
As an average person spends around 90% of their time indoors, either at work or at home, indoor air quality plays a significant part in the general state of health. This is particularly true for children, elderly people and other vulnerable groups. While we pay attention to our health when considering our diet, most of us are indifferent to the quality of air we breathe.
To understand the impact of indoor air pollution and its awareness levels in India and in Mumbai, Eureka Forbes and Brandscapes conducted a nationwide audit, aimed at mapping awareness levels of consumers on indoor air pollution and assess the causes and reasons that were affecting families and individuals in Mumbai and in the most polluted cities across India due to increasing levels of air pollution, both outdoor and indoor.
The audit results also demonstrate clearly that immediate effects of poor indoor air quality may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
The air quality was perceived as worse at higher levels of exposure to dust and dust mites, with 91% respondents attributing it to be the prime cause of indoor air pollution.
Studies further indicate that exposure to prolonged indoor air pollution can cause diseases such as ischemic heart disease stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory tract infection and lung cancer triggered by constant exposure to air pollution.
However, there are a couple of steps that can be taken to reduce the risks of excessive indoor air pollution. Make sure your house is well ventilated, and you avoid smoking at home. Perfumes, hair sprays, furniture polish, glues, air fresheners, moth repellents, wood preservatives, and many other products used in the house are also a source of indoor pollutants. Keep your house dust free as dust particles and pollen from plants are generally a cause of allergies, and in some extreme cases, it can also cause cancer.
If proper hygiene is maintained and necessary action is taken, you can minimize the risk and mitigate indoor air quality problems effectively.