Air purifiers: A boon or a symbol of our failures?
I grew up watching ads for water purifiers. It always started with a school-kid drinking regular tap water and getting sick. Then the child gets healthier when he/she starts drinking water from an RO filter and starts winning awards in school competitions. This created a perception in my mind,
“It’s water, it’s dirty and non-drinkable unless processed via a water-purifier”. I even have one installed at my home.
My parents tell me, when they were young, they would get the water directly from a Nalka (an Indian-government installation which provides ground water directly) and it will be fresh, cold and healthier as RO purifiers remove most of the minerals from the water required by our body, specially our bones. So, watch out for those filter settings in yours.
These days, the television, internet and offline media is filled with the ads for air purifiers and it scares me. What if our next generation forms the same notion about air,
“It’s air, it’s dirty and non-breathable unless processed via an air-purifier”.
Despite being one of the greenest cities in India, this is the scenario visible in Delhi on a day-to-day basis. It gets even scarier during the Diwali festival. The visibility drops, not because of fog, but because of smog. Schools declare emergency closure, offices shut down and kids are forced to stay/play inside the house.
One of my friends got an air-purifier installed in his home. Many others followed suit. It’s helping them keep the air in their homes clean. It’s like a boon to them but is it a long-term solution? We’re treating the symptom and not the disease and our coming generations will pay the price for our mistakes. We’ve failed them. But
It’s never too late to do the right thing
Many of us want to do something about it. But we always think of large scale problems like how we can stop or reduce carbon emissions from trucks(Elon musk is taking care of that), or industries(again being solved by Musk) and fail to recognize that we always can do our part.
Get the information out: This is the biggest and fastest contribution we all can all make, no matter how many people we influence, it always pays off. Leonardo DiCaprio got his first Oscar after his 6th nomination and instead of bragging about how hard he worked for it(his work speaks for it), he took the time to tell the world about the environmental problems we’re facing. He’s also a proud owner of a Tesla.
Small things matter: If you drive a car to work alone, pool it with 3 others and you’ll be reducing the carbon footprint by 75%. If you live nearby, use battery operated or pedal bikes you’ll be reducing it by 100%. It will also help you get Vitamin-D, save money on fossil fuel and get some exercise as well.
Switching off your electrical components when not in use and replacing your halogen bulbs or CFLs with LED bulbs can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint by upto 60 percent. “Only 5% of the power drawn by a phone charger is used to charge the phone. The other 95% is wasted when it is left plugged in.”
Big things matter even more: Giving up or reducing meat consumption can bring down your carbon footprint drastically. It’s been almost 4 years since I’ve become a strict vegetarian from a hard core non-vegetarian and it feels good to contribute to this cause.
Don’t throw out your old working electronic equipments, specially mobile phones. Give them to your younger siblings or maid or cook or someone who is going to buy a new one. 80% of a mobile phone’s carbon footprint comes from its manufacturing and only 20% is contributed through its entire lifespan.
Let’s produce some oxygen: No, we can’t, but they can. It’s a simple terrace garden and it will make your terrace look beautiful. It may even reduce your carbon footprint to negative just like Bhutan, a carbon negative country. They absorb 3 times more carbon dioxide than they produce.
Let’s start with small things and do our part in making this world a better place for all species. They have an equal right to this world. Let’s show mother nature, “We care”.
Must see resources about carbon footprint
1 Air travel is usually the largest component of the carbon footprint of frequent flyers. A single return flight from…www.theguardian.com
Electric heaters can significantly interfere with the building's main heating system - depending on locations, using an…www.environment.admin.cam.ac.uk