Rising pollution levels coupled with a host of respiratory and other health problems have taken the sheen out of the otherwise beloved winter, with Delhiites huffing and puffing their way to life post-Diwali. At such a time, air purifying plants have become the latest de rigueur for people struggling for some clean air.
These plants, commonly known as air purifiers, come packed with a host of pollution-combating functions, making them a popular choice for home gardens as well as inside residences. They also win extra brownie points for being low on budget and maintenance, as most of them require very less water, just enough to keep the soil moist, about once or twice a week, and sunlight once a week.
A lot of people, especially those living in high rises, are placing plants such as dwarf date palm, Chinese evergreen, flamingo lily, even the humble rubber plant, in their homes for better air quality.
Sharing how her three-year-old daughter fell regularly ill because of the pollution in Gurgaon, Sana Dhillon said: “The first year we shifted from Delhi was a nightmare for my kid. She was on nebulisers and suffered from cold and cough. After doctors discouraged us from buying an air purifying machine, we decided to bring home air purifiers and go green.”
Today, her house is a pleasant green of snake plants and peace lilies, which don’t require large amounts of water or light to survive, prefer shade, and are best watered when the soil is dry. Hailed as the most efficient air filtration plant, the latter reduces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene and ammonia.
More and more people are turning to air purifiers after the smog nightmare of November, according to Kapil Mandawewala of Edible Routes. Which specialises in such greens. “Not just air purifiers, but the use of indoor plants has also increased with the decline in air quality in Delhi. Plants such as spider plant, dracaena, syngonium, sansevieria, areca palm, English Ivy and Boston fern, which are known to reduce the negative impact of toxic fumes, are increasingly being asked for, especially by families with kids,” he said.
Mandawewala added that many private companies, too, were placing these plants in their offices to not only purify the air but to create a pleasant and aesthetic environment for the employees. Where there’s a lack of space, vertical gardens are getting popular.
His sentiments are echoed by Ruchi Warikoo, a freelancer in Faridabad, who has turned her house into a “virtual green house” for her five-year-old son. “We are breathing poison every day. While adults can manage, I do not want my child to fall ill. I have about 50 plants in the house and balconies and we visibly feel the difference in the air around us,” she said.