Pune: Accounting for about two million premature deaths every year in the country, latest figures indicate that more people are dying due to poor indoor air quality, as compared to outdoor air pollution. Expressing concern, experts warn people about the hazards of indoor air pollution and call for taking precautionary measures.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Parag Khatavkar, Senior Consultant, Pulmonologist, KEM Hospital, Pune, said that in urban settings, it is poor ventilation, dust, mites, pollen and other trapped irritants that make the air quality extremely unhealthy for breathing.
“While children under the age of five are prone to developing respiratory conditions if exposed to indoor air pollution, people with existing conditions report exacerbation, leading to increased mortality.
“One of the recent studies reports that poor indoor air quality is the second largest killer in India, claiming 1.3 million lives every year,” said Khatavkar.
Studies indicate that concentration of pollutants in the indoor environment is much higher than that of the urban outdoor ambient environment with average traffic.
Also, people spend more than 90 per cent of their time in indoor environments, either inside the office, school, college, commercial, industrial buildings or inside their residential houses, making them highly vulnerable to the hazards of poor indoor air quality.
“The good air quality inside can be maintained to a certain extent by proper ventilation, planting indoor plants and other dust control methods, but still, the minute dust particles, bacteria, virus, pollen and other airborne pollutants stay in our house and they cause various respiratory illnesses like asthma and allergies.
“Air purifiers may help in improving indoor air quality by capturing and removing minutest pollutants from the air,” said Khatavkar.
Indoor air pollution can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution. However, despite such high risk, Khatavkar also pointed out that even people with respiratory conditions are oblivious to the risks of indoor air pollution.