With pollution at an-all time high, use plants at home as effective indoor air purifiers
Plants “breathe” in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This is of utmost importance to maintain the delicate balance of the earth’s atmosphere. While this is a commonly known fact that takes us back to our elementary school science, a lesser-known fact is that plants can also be used to extricate harmful chemicals from the air we breathe inside our homes.
Studies conducted by NASA have unearthed that certain plants used as houseplants can act as “filters” to effectively remove toxins from indoor air and replace it with breathable oxygen.
Keeping in mind the fact that pollution levels are at an all time high and Diwali is round the corner, which along with its festivities has adverse environmental repercussions, pure breathable air in our own homes has never been more important.
The upside to this rather serious situation is that most of the plants are not only visually appealing, these are also easily available and require minimum care and maintenance. A few simple tips to beautify a corner in your house will simultaneously eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and other harmful substances.
For instance, Sansevieria, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants.
Likewise, Dracaena Marginata (or red-edged Dracaena) is optimum for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes and gasoline. Additionally, the red edges of this plant add a pop of colour to any dull corner of the house.
Ficus Benjamina requires slightly more attention, but once you get the light and water conditions right, this plant can act as a powerful filter in your living room for pollutants released by carpeting and furniture.
Other easily available, aesthetically appealing plants that have great air purifying qualities are Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Dracaena Janet Craig, Bamboo Palm, Ficus Robusta, Philodendron and Ficus Alii. Plants can be worked into gardens and landscapes in a creative manner. Another helpful technique is to use coco-peat as a planting/potting medicine. It is a myth that gardens consume “too” much water – logical watering patterns not only safeguard the natural resource but add to the ecological growth of a garden- no plant likes excessive water anyway.
Use eco-friendly potting techniques for indoor and outdoor purposes – the air has so many pollutants each one of us must try and do our bit. The author is a luxury exteriors designer with over a decade- anda-half experience in landscaping, garden design and beautification projects