Technology Other News 17 Oct 2018 Air pollution: The r ...

Air pollution: The right to clean air

Published Oct 17, 2018, 3:31 pm IST
Updated Oct 18, 2018, 1:41 pm IST
India is home to the highest number of world’s most polluted cities.
While awareness about outdoor pollution is high, very little thought has been put into the highly complex issue of indoor air pollution, given that we spend majority of time indoors.
 While awareness about outdoor pollution is high, very little thought has been put into the highly complex issue of indoor air pollution, given that we spend majority of time indoors.

India is home to the highest number of world’s most polluted cities. As per World Health Organisation, India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations. With air pollution hitting an unprecedented level of 413 and falling down to the ‘hazardous’ category even in a presumably safe summer season, the right to breathe fresh air has been taken away from people at large. And as winter sets in, the problem of air pollution will only get bigger.

While awareness about outdoor pollution is high, very little thought has been put into the highly complex issue of indoor air pollution, given that we spend majority of time indoors. But the fact is that air indoors can also be equally or more harmful than outdoors as pollution outdoors directly impacts the quality of indoor air since Indian homes are not fully sealed. Further, within the confines of our homes, we are susceptible to many other sources of pollution such as cooking fumes, suspended dust, dust mites, cleaning products, personal care products, paints and furniture polish etc. in addition to harmful gases such as Formaldehyde, Benzene and Nitrogen Dioxide that can be harmful particularly to children, senior citizens, asthma and allergy patients and expecting mothers, amongst others.


A survey conducted by Curofy, India’s largest community of doctors that noted on an average 7.24 percent of the children across the country are susceptible to develop this chronic respiratory inflammatory condition of Asthma and rising environmental pollution is the biggest cause.

The current state, therefore, necessitates sophisticated air purifying technologies such as air purifiers to properly purify the whole room. Over the last two years, consumers have started to understand the benefit of using air purifiers and every year there is panic buying in the so called extreme pollution winter months. But the reality is that air in India rarely reaches below safe levels as prescribed by World Health Organisation. Even air pollution researchers and health experts have started to recommend the use of air purifiers as an effective option to deal with polluted indoor air.


With the availability of so many options in the market today, the consumer is extremely confused on what to look for in an effective air purifier. There is a great need for educating them to choose the right technology in air purification to achieve proper purification in the whole room. Today, there are no benchmarks to test the efficacy of air purifiers. Most manufacturers of conventional air purifiers gauge their performance using a laboratory test method called 'Clean Air Delivery Rate'. This test is conducted in a compact chamber just 11.8m2 (127 sq ft) in size, with an added fan to circulate the air - and only one sensor to measure air quality. It is not representative of the average living room environment. Backed by extensive in home research, Dyson is a company that goes beyond industry standard CADR and created new POLAR test which we believe better reflects real home usage.


POLAR test lab is based on a larger room size of 27m2 (290 sq ft), with no added fan as we don’t use fans in peak pollution winter season in India. The air purifier is placed in corner of the room which replicates how it is used in real homes and pollution is pumped in from the other corner. The test uses eight sensors in the corners of the room and one sensor in the centre, detecting particles of indoor air pollution that are 300 times narrower than a human hair. All machines are tested using their automatic pollution detection function as most consumers are not able to detect air pollution and just want to set their machine to automatically deal with any issues. The new testing method assesses the ability of machines to remove harmful particles and gases, the uniformity of the cleaning performance delivered around the whole room, and airflow projection. It starts when the machine thinks the room is polluted, and ends when the machine thinks it is clean. Analyzing the data across all nine sensors lets Dyson engineers ensure that our air purifiers are engineered for proper purification including efficient filtration and air projection, not simply for coverage time.


Hence, it is imperative for consumers to be aware of the right purifiers that are engineered to work in real homes and can intelligently capture even the smallest particles as small as 0.1 microns which can be inhaled.

Below are some of the parameters one should keep in mind while finalising an air purifier that offers proper purification in the whole room:

Intelligent sensing: Effective sensors that can automatically detects and reports air quality levels in real time with respect to PM 2.5, PM 10, VOC and NO2

Effective capturing: A fully-sealed 360° filter system that combines tris-coated activated carbon filter to remove gases and Glass HEPA filter that captures 99.95% of microscopic allergens and pollutants as small as 0.1 microns from across the whole room.


Whole room projection and circulation: Whole room projection and circulation of clean air through an effective air mixing or fan feature that oscillates 350 degrees to reach all corners of the room and purify it properly.

Of the few companies that deal with air purification, Dyson is a company that tries to take things seriously. Evan Stevens, Head of Category – Environmental Control at Dyson said that they are constantly working on developing newer technologies that solve problems others can’t. Dyson Pure Cool is one such machine that works in real homes to efficiently offer proper whole room purification thereby removing 99.95% of harmful pollutants as small as 0.1 microns. Apart from offering superior technology, the Dyson Pure Cool air purifier is energy efficient and consumes just 1 unit of electricity per day if used continuously for 24 hours. So, if used continuously at high speed for 365 days, Dyson Pure Cool will consume power worth Rs 3000, approximately per year.


With air quality taking a downturn over the last few years, the air purification technologies have kicked in as an effective solution for consumers. While a large number of people still consider pollution as a seasonal concern, the rising health crisis across the nation all year round is breaking the myth for the more aware urban population. Pollution is a year-long phenomenon and isn’t seasonal or limited to winter months, as many may believe. It may peak at certain times, but that doesn’t imply that it isn’t a serious problem during the entire course of the year especially in India. Therefore it has become imperative for every consumer to first educate themselves about the menace of air pollution and then act upon it.


—by Evan Stevens, Head of Category – Environmental Control, Dyson

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