As the world prepares to build smart cities, new research led by a scientist of Indian origin has highlighted the harmful effects of indoor air pollution on human health and has called for policies to ensure control over strict air quality.
According to Prashant Kumar of the University of Surrey, the research offers a vision of “sick building syndrome” and how new smart cities could help combat the problems of air quality.
When we think of the term “air pollution,” we tend to think of exhaust fumes from factories or to drive out gray smoke.
“However, several sources of pollution hurt air quality, many of which are within our homes and offices. From cooking residues of paints, varnishes, and fungal spores the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than outside, “said Kumar.
In 2012, indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths worldwide, compared with 3.7 million outdoor air pollution.
Urban dwellers often spend 90 percent of their time indoors and this has been associated with “sick building syndrome”, where people have some harmful health-related breathing indoor air effects.
“It is essential to be able to control the indoor air pollution so that we can better understand when and where levels are lower quality, and in turn offer solutions to make healthier our air,” said Kumar in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
“Our work using sensors monitoring small, low power consumption that would be able to collect data in real time and tell families or workers have examined when contaminant levels are too high,” he continued.
With this research, the greater importance attached to ensuring buildings are constructed with pollution monitoring indoor claimed in mind. Upon entering the age of smart cities this is a way in which health technology actively benefit, the authors said.
A joint effort of European researchers, Australian and British led by the University of Surrey, the study, assesses the harmful effects of indoor air pollution to make recommendations on the best way to control and deny these results.
In another article published earlier in the journal Environmental Pollution, Kumar and graduate student Anju Goel also found that outdoor air pollution was at a high where buildings are located at traffic intersections.
Even when it was not low traffic volume, traffic intersections with the densely built environment they showed twice the concentration in the open joints.
Exposure to these levels revealed that the ground floor houses in these areas were exposed to twice as harmful particles.
“This has significant implications for city planning and to consider if we want schools, offices or hospitals to be built within these environments,” Kumar said.