It took me a foreign trip to understand that my son was ‘smoking’ all these years!

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This dad of a toddler had an eye-opening experience when he realised that his son was breathing in air that was equivalent to smoking! What did he do to improve the air quality at his home? Let’s hear from him.

Last month, I got back from a work-related overseas assignment. I was in Edinburgh for two weeks. Hailing from Mumbai, it was definitely exciting, working in one of the most beautiful cities in the UK.

A person who visits Edinburgh talks about architecture, sights to see, planned infrastructure that dates centuries back. But, as a dad, the first thing that struck me was the pure quality of air I was breathing!

Air quality, or should I say, lack of?

It was even starker when I landed at the Mumbai airport and was stuck at a signal in Andheri. I realised that I was inhaling terrible air, and that numbed me. On my way home, all I could think about was, “my son is breathing this!”. It bothered me and as soon as I reached home, I gave him a hug that I am not sure was out of love or worry.

I could not sleep that night.

I remembered the headlines that often inform us of the worsening pollution levels in all the major cities of India. Scientists and researchers have documented how air pollutants are associated with a wide variety of adverse health impacts in children. Higher level of air pollution has severe health impacts, especially for children. It can cause respiratory disorders and aggravate conditions of asthma. In severe cases, it can even lead to death.[1]

Honestly, before this, the severity of the situation had not sunk into my consciousness.

But now my perception had changed!

And that is when I decided to do something about it. Mumbai, like any other metro in India, has a problem of air pollution. The sheer volume of automobiles today itself makes it impossible for Mumbai to have a good spot on the Air Quality Index. The lack of greenery doesn’t help either.

src=https://www.theindusparent.com/wp content/uploads/sites/9/2017/12/pollution.jpg It took me a foreign trip to understand that my son was ‘smoking’ all these years!

Then I decided I had to do something…

I got thinking, what could I do? I cannot change my home that is quite near the Eastern Express Highway. But what else could I do? I did what most millennial dads do – I googled. I also emailed an old professor at my alma mater who taught Environmental law.

The Google search revealed something I had not thought about earlier. When I thought of air pollution, I was just thinking about the exhaust. I was not considering that small particulate matter, as well as dust mites, are also a cause for concern.

So, we got to vacuuming the sofas and the curtains more frequently. I also checked the Air conditioning filters - they were filthy despite having been cleaned recently. I put ‘clean A/C filter’ on my calendar for every Saturday and got in touch with a servicing company. I have booked them for every three months.

Next, I found a playground with plenty of trees. My son goes there every evening and spends an hour there. It is so much better than staying holed up at home, just to escape the pollution! But guess what, this is not enough.

Is all this enough?

The email from my professor came back. He informed me that the air quality in most of the metros in India is so bad that it is like exposing your child to smoking. and that it is best to invest in a good air purifier.

src=https://www.theindusparent.com/wp content/uploads/sites/9/2017/12/Air Purifier.jpg It took me a foreign trip to understand that my son was ‘smoking’ all these years!

I trust him and all health indicators pointed me towards the air purifier direction. I got searching and narrowed down on Hindustan Unilever’s Pureit Air Purifier. We have been using the water filter for some time now, so this was an easier decision as I’ve trusted them long enough.

I purchased three units. The H-101 was for my son’s room, H-201 for my bedroom, and H-301 for the living room.

It has HEPA filters, something that filters out even the smallest of the particles in the air. We use that in our production plants, so I know that this stuff is industrial grade.

It also tells me the air quality of the room, while getting rid of all kinds of pollutants in no time! In fact, I read on the website that it is successful in filtering out substances that are blacklisted by the World Health Organization!

Yes, it did cost me a bit, but then, I was saving up for a fancy phone. Guess what, a fancy phone is a luxury, but an air purifier is a necessity.

Read more on my purchase here: Pureit Air Purifier

[1] The effects of air pollution on children. Retrieved on 30 November 2017 from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1518911/