By Dr Abhay Kumar
The rising air pollution in the country has escalated into a crisis, Delhi being the primary victim. Of the 30 most polluted cities in the world, 22 are in India, according to a Greenpeace and AirVisual analysis report published in early 2019. According to the study, 'State of Global Air 2019', air pollution kills 1.2 million Indians every year and is the third largest cause of death in the country. It has become a major reason for numerous families to relocate.
No wonder air purifiers have become a significant addition for all Indian households. It is a proven fact that the air indoors is five to ten times worse than the air outdoors. Hence, taking immediate measures is the need of the hour. Air purifiers are no longer a luxury; they have become the most important white good to invest in.
With multiple types of air purifiers available in the market, it is essential to understand each one's suitability. Studies suggest that HEPA filtration is the most significant feature of a purifier. It stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and traps even the smallest of particles invisible to the naked eye. They have a proven record of trapping at least 99.95% of dust, smoke, mould and other particles in the air, as minute as 0.3 microns in size.
Another type of filtration technology available is the ultraviolet (UV) filter that sterilises the air, killing bacteria, viruses, and mould spores. However, UV light takes a few minutes to kill the germs and it is highly unlikely that the germs passing through the purifier will be exposed to it for that long.
A good air purifier indicates when the filters need to be cleaned or replaced. Ultimately, the replacement and cleaning depends on usage. Excess use will require frequent cleaning and replacement.
The features to look for in a good air purifier are; sensors and timers that measure the air quality at all times and provide the user with this data, wi-fi apps and remote controls that regulate the functioning through a smartphone application. To switch rooms, portable air purifiers come in handy.
Some air-conditioners aid in removing dust and pollen from the air but may leave smoke and other fine particles behind. These days, air purifiers have gained importance in our lives, owing to the air pollution crisis. With smart technological advances, air purifiers with a wide range of variations are a basic need for any household.
(The author is Associate Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Eureka Forbes Limited. Views expressed are personal.)