Tag Archives: gardening

Can house plants improve indoor air quality?

Spider plant. Source: Wikipedia.

Spider plant. Source: Wikipedia.

It goes without saying that indoor air quality can affect human health. Indoor air is often more polluted than outside air. There are many strategies to help clean the air, like mechanical air filters. House plants and the microorganisms associated with them offer another method for cleaning the air. Or do they? The Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies put this to the test and reported:

The presence of potted plants likely favored a decrease of approximately 30% in PM₁₀ concentrations. Our findings corroborate the results of NASA studies suggesting that plants might improve indoor air and make interior breathing spaces healthier.

“PM” means “particulate matter“, which are extremely tiny particles that tend to be inhaled deep into the lungs and can have toxic effects.

Plants that clean the air the most include: peace lily, philodendron, mother-in-law’s tongue, spider plants, asparagus ferns, English ivy, bamboo palms, purple heart plant, pothos, potted mums, gerbera daisy, and orchids.

Besides this, greenery beautifies.

If you do a lot of indoor exercise, consider getting more houseplants to clean your air.

Green space beneficial for health

It’s always sweet when something we intuitively know gets verified by science. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that science has found that living near green space is associated with better health, even after controlling for socio-economic factors. So if you have a significant amount of parkland or woods nearby, consider yourself lucky, even if bears or wolves live in them.

According to J Epidemiol Community Health. 2002 Dec;56(12):913-8.- Urban residential environments and senior citizens’ longevity in megacity areas: the importance of walkable green spaces.

CONCLUSIONS:

Living in areas with walkable green spaces positively influenced the longevity of urban senior citizens independent of their age, sex, marital status, baseline functional status, and socioeconomic status. Greenery filled public areas that are nearby and easy to walk in should be further emphasised in urban planning for the development and re-development of densely populated areas in a megacity. Close collaboration should be undertaken among the health, construction, civil engineering, planning, and other concerned sectors in the context of the healthy urban policy, so as to promote the health of senior citizens.

One of my favorite parks

One of my favorite parks. It is also a supermarket to me, since I love to gather edible plants from here when they are in season

There are few things as refreshing as going to the park to relieve stress, to observe wildlife, to exercise, to meditate, to get bitten by bugs(not very refreshing unless you’re a masochist) or just to explore. As I always say, the larger the park, the better! Besides beautifying neighborhoods, trees also remove CO2 from the air. This is one of the reasons parkland is so essential for human health.

When it comes to exercise, nothing beats a park. If you don’t like indoor gyms(like me), just bring some resistance bands with you to the local park and you can do a total body workout there, besides of course juggling, running, or joggling around it.

”Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.” -Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

This subject is related to my earlier post – The effects of air pollution on exercise

Whatever you do, try to promote green space wherever you live. Get involved in park activities or community gardens, plant trees, or even start a garden(indoor or outdoors) to help clean the air. Do it for your own health and for the health of your community.