Dealing With Pollution

Words: Dr Ryan N HARRISON 

Q: ‘Pollution, pollution everywhere,’ but what to do is a big question today. Please suggest a few simple, also useful, measures that could help us all best.

— NM, New Delhi

A: The most immediate effects from indoor air pollutants may show up after a single exposure, or repeated exposures and include:

  • Irritation of eyes, nose and throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue.

Long-term effects may show up either years after exposure, or only after long, or repeated periods of exposure and include:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer.

Taking steps to help reduce outside air pollution is a socially, fiscally, and environmentally responsible approach to this worldwide problem. Many organisations exist that can give you expert advice on how to do your part. Some ideas that are easy to adopt include: walking, or bicycling when possible, rather than driving; using public transportation; purchasing a hybrid motor vehicle; looking after and tending for the trees in your neighbourhood; switching off lights and fans when they are not needed; composting leaves rather than burning them; and, using only unleaded gasoline and compressed natural gas [CNG], or electric vehicle [EV].

Considering the fact that we raise our children, care for our sick and elderly, and eat, sleep, and relax all in our homes, it seems rational to suggest that in order to protect the health and well-being of our families and loved ones, a crucial step is keeping indoor air clean and clear of as many pollutants as possible. How do we accomplish such a monumental task when so many everyday items that we own, or use, in our homes are potential pollutants?

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, one of the ways to improve the air quality in your home is by inviting nature’s purifier indoors. According to a two-year study conducted by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, keeping healthy houseplants can effectively clean up a large percentage [up to 87 per cent] of indoor pollutants.

Some of the most active and effective plants for this use include: Dracaenas, palms, ferns, English ivy, peace lilies, mums, daisies and spider plants. Obviously, the more plants the better, so this is a recommendation best suited for people who have a green thumb. After all, plants can only clean the air, if they are healthy themselves.

For those with less botanical tendencies, the best way that you can ensure the air in your home is as pollutant free as possible is by purchasing and using a high quality air purifier. A good rule of the thumb where air purifiers are concerned is that you get what you pay for. Beyond that, keep in mind that the best devices will have several features, including:

  • Energy efficiency — it should only cost a few pennies a day to run your air purifier
  • Quiet operation — you should not substitute air pollution with sound pollution, or you’ll be less likely to use your filter
  • Easy filter replacement — if it is difficult to change the filters, chances are you won’t do so as often as directed, and that defeats the whole purpose
  • Long filter life — if the filters have to be replaced frequently, you may meet with unexpected expenses
  • High-quality fan — if the fan is poorly made, or inadequate for the job, you may risk costly repairs, or poor performance
  • Warranty — be sure that your purifier is covered by at least a two-year warrantee in the event that it needs to be replaced, or repaired.

Using a high quality air purifier can dramatically affect your health in a short period of time. Some report breathing and feeling better within hours. When combined with lifestyle choices that espouse the use of natural, chemical-free personal care products, household cleansers and pesticides, indoor air quality is dramatically improved, resulting in fewer colds, illnesses and long-term diseases.

Implementing such changes is as important as clean air is to a person’s overall well-being. This could well be one of the best things you’d do for yourself and your loved ones — right now.

Dr RYAN N HARRISON, PsyD, MA, BCIH, EFT-ADV, HHP, NC, MH, QTP, LWM, HSM, is a holistic health educator and consultant in private practice. He also holds a post-graduate degree in transpersonal psychology and certifications as a nutritional consultant, holistic health practitioner, spiritual counsellor, and quantum-touch. Aside from being an advanced practitioner of EFT [Emotional Freedom Techniques], Harrison teaches and lectures in conventional and online forums. He lives in California, US. 

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