Introduction: Care for Air launched its first Student Ambassador Programme in 2016. As part of the programme, we asked the young ambassadors (anywhere between 14 and 17 years old) to blog about their learning experience. Here are some of their voices.
In the first session of the Care For Air Student Ambassador Program, we discussed the various problems air pollution causes in our city, our country and some of the solutions to these problems. One of the problems discussed was indoor pollution and how it’s caused by the use of ‘chulhas’. I learned that efforts have been made by the Government to reduce indoor pollution with the provision of bio-stoves in rural parts of the country, and people use ‘air purifiers’ in more urban areas. Most of these methods are costly to the state and to the individuals, while some methods are not easily accepted by the section of our society that believes in traditional methods.
When I went home, I decided to do some research and brainstorm other effective yet inexpensive alternatives that will reduce indoor pollution and would be accepted by rural households. Air-purifying plants (more specifically herbs) was one of the eco-friendly and effective methods I came across.
It is quite well known that herbs have several uses in the kitchen and has medicinal properties. Certain herbs, as it has been discovered, reduce carbon-dioxide and increase the oxygen in the air when grown indoors or on a windowsill.
Herbs like Jasmine, Basil and Mint are relatively easy to grow and care for in a country like India, and they also purify the air. While there are other benefits. Jasmine gives out a nice fragrance, can be used in herbal tea, Basil can be used as seasoning in food as can mint, which also keeps away mosquitoes and prevents respiratory ailments.
Therefore I decided to grow a small mint plant on my windowsill as an experiment to see how easily it would grow if I were to incorporate it into a large scale project. I did not germinate the seed, but grew it from a cutting. I also kept another mint plant next to it to see how easily it would be to maintain. I found that mint is one of the easiest plants to grow and maintain. It requires next to no care and has many alternative uses other than purifying the air. While the difference in air quality is not evident as the plant has been kept indoors, the more I researched, the more I realized that the little plant by my windowsill is actually doing a lot more good than one can see, feel or measure.
This was just a small, easy step that I took to improve the air quality in my house. It might make a small difference, but to me, it’s a constructive difference that might on a larger-scale help my school or community.
Dayawanti Punj: I am a 15 year old Shri Ram School Moulsari student. I have been passionate about the environment since a very young age and am the Grade Representative of Environmental Initiatives at my school. I have managed paper waste and tetra pack recycling initiatives, silent protests (anti-crackers, anti-water wastage during Holi etc. ) at the school-level. The cause for clean air is something I relate to on a personal level and wish to positively impact. Apart from working on environmental initiatives, I am a pianist and enjoy reading economics and politics.
Tell us your personal stories on how you battle air pollution in your daily life and in your community.