World Health Organization (WHO) found that ambient air pollution has claimed over 4.2 million deaths globally. It is mostly prevalent in the urban settlements without proper ventilation, given air conditioned buildings. Inhalation of toxic air pollutants lead to negative health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, allergic reactions, pneumonia, increased asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases.
Retaining the air quality has become a global priority, especially for countries where people remain indoors for a major part of their day. The WHO database shows that more countries are now identifying the need to control indoor as well as outdoor air pollution. However, Qatar is one step ahead.
Qatar’s National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) recently conducted a research on how Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) determines the overall exposure of people to pollutants through respiratory-inhalation.
Variations in the IAQ were recorded with subject to the geographical positioning of a building, including its vicinage to the outdoor toxin sources, such as, industries, construction sites, trade hubs, traffic or its exposure to desert sand particles. Structure characteristics like building envelope, ventilation and air conditioning system were also determined during the evaluation. Further, the presence of concentrated emission sources, including furniture, décor articles, air refreshers; as well as emissions during cooking, cleaning, or smoking also influenced IAQ.
A research also gauged the impact of IAQ on the health of Qatar’s residents. Although the outcomes did not indicate a major negative impact of indoor pollution, the report asserted that the health effects of poor IAQ were felt in some of the households.
Since it is a matter of significance to public health, Qatar National Research Fund is promoting the scientific study and sustainable mitigation of ambient pollution. Qatar is investing heavily in the best available technologies to maintain the global environmental standards.
On the global front, a collaborative investment in an IAQ enhancement technology has become need of the hour. With an innovative technology in place, the buildings will be able to automatically regulate the indoor exposure to harmful air pollutants, including PM2.5 particulates.
How residents can Mitigate Poor IAQ
- Avoid smoking indoors
- Keep your gas stove well-ventilated
- Minify clutter
- Remove carpeting, if at all possible
- Cover the garbage bin to avoid attracting pests
- Remove shoes outside the home
- Avoid using air fresheners
- Install carbon monoxide detectors
- Check for water leaks and fix them
- Clean dusty surfaces regularly
- Wash bedding in warm water
- Ensure the proper functioning of exhausts in your bathrooms and kitchen
- Avoid keeping scented candles in the bedroom
It has become important to take an urgent action against air pollution to stay healthy and achieve a collaborative sustainable development.