The World Health Organization estimates that seven million people die every year due to air pollution, most of them women and children. Air pollution is a serious threat world over, one that demands immediate attention from not just governments and policymakers but from each one of us.
In a recent report, seven Indian cities were listed in the top ten most polluted cities worldwide. The ill-effects of air pollution have been well-documented over the years. Studies have shown that non-fatal effects include irregular heartbeats, aggravated asthma and decreased lung function. Children are more susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution since their immune systems are still developing and their lungs still growing.
However, it is not only the air outside our homes that poses a danger to our health. The pollution inside our houses could be doing us more harm. Indoor air pollution is the degradation of indoor air quality by harmful chemicals present in our homes like dust particles, cooking fumes, and indoor humidity. According to a study by the Indian Journal of Community Medicine, indoor pollution is 10 times worse than outdoor pollution.
Clean air is essential for children so that they can grow up healthy and maximize their potential. This year, the theme of World Environment Day, which is being celebrated on June 5, is air pollution. It’s yet another reminder for us to take charge and ensure a healthier future for our children.
Here are five ways to minimise the harm of indoor air pollution on children:
1. Make your home a smoke-free environment
Cigarette smoke is harmful not only for smokers but for people around them, especially children. Children who breathe second-hand smoke have an elevated risk of developing ear infections, coughs and colds, bronchitis and pneumonia, and tooth decay.
2. Restrict children’s presence in the kitchen
Natural gas and propane stoves can release carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other harmful pollutants into the air, which can be toxic to people and pets. Keep infants and younger children away from the kitchen when you’re cooking. Make sure the kitchen is well ventilated. Use a wall or ceiling exhaust fan while cooking and switch to a fuel-efficient cooking stove.
3. Dust your home regularly
Dust is a major source of indoor pollution. Surfaces tend to accumulate dust that can cause allergy, wheezing and respiratory infections, especially in children. Minimise carpeted areas in your home because carpet surfaces tend to trap dust particles and other pollutants. Dust and clean your home often.
4. Keep out the dirt
Shoes worn outdoors can collect a range of chemicals and pollutants. Make sure they stay outside. Place a large floor mat at every door in your house. A doormat reduces the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants getting into your home.
Breathing pure, clean air is a crucial part of keeping children, and the whole family healthy. Bring home an air purifier and experience the benefits of having a clean indoor air quality. You could try world-class QNet products, like the SHARP- QNET Plasmacluster Air Purifier which uses Sharp’s patented Plasmacluster Ion Technology to generate negative and positive ions that eliminate harmful pollutants like pollen dust, allergens, viruses, mold, gases and foul smell from the air as well as surfaces to create a fresh indoor environment.
This World Environment Day, let’s do our bit and take a pledge to keep the air around us clean.