When you think about air pollution, you might picture hazy city skylines, smokestacks or gridlocked roadways. Yet as cities grow, most people spend the vast majority of their time indoors, at work and at home. With some of the most populous cities on Earth, it’s no surprise that Asia is at the forefront of indoor air quality education and technology. We asked Dino Asvaintra, general manager for our homes business in the China and high-growth regions and an air purification technology expert, for his insights.
What are the top causes of indoor air pollution?
Cooking, incense, pet dander, aerosols, fumes from paints and upholstery -- they all contribute to indoor air pollution. There is limited consumer awareness around indoor air pollution, though, as much of the conversation on air quality has been focused largely on outdoor air pollution. Most people assume that once you shut yourself in a home, you are protected from air pollution.
Is air pollution an urban problem?
We’re increasingly seeing suburban areas suffer from pollution due to crop burning and wood-fired stoves. This releases particles, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and other toxins into homes. Air pollution is not just an urban problem, and countries across Asia are struggling with it.
What are the best ways of tackling some of the common sources of indoor air pollution?
Here are some easy steps to reduce indoor air pollution:
- Avoid introducing sources of smoke and fumes indoors like incense, insect repellents, aerosol-based deodorants and air fresheners, and of course, smoking.
- Reduce pet dander by frequently brushing and shampooing your pets, and with regular cleaning and vacuuming.
- Use air purification technologies to monitor or improve air quality.
Can air purifiers solve the overall air pollution problem?
A lot needs to be done to create a sustainable clean air future. Air purifiers are just one solution for cleaner air in homes. Creating ample green spaces in urban planning, and improving public transport to reduce the burden of private vehicles on the road are some long-term solutions.
Do you think governments across Asia are doing enough to mitigate the problem of air pollution in cities?
Governments across Asia are taking several measures to control air pollution. For instance, the Chinese authorities are implementing an economy-wide climate policy that puts a price on carbon dioxide and lowers emissions that degrade air quality. We know that the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) India is working with the central government and several state pollution control boards to implement India’s first emissions trading program for particulate pollution. The program will be the world’s first trading program specifically for particulate pollution. Similarly, several Asian governments are shutting down aged coal power plants and reducing emissions from diesel vehicles and factories.
Ultimately, air pollution is everyone’s problem, and we all need to continue doing more to improve our surroundings.
Learn more about Dino's views on indoor air pollution and air purification technologies here.
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