GROWING FRESH AIR
A LOOK AT THE HEALTHIEST BUILDING IN NEW DELHI
Imagine you are told you must leave the city you work and live in because it’s killing you. Hard to fathom, isn’t it? But this actually happened to Kamal Meattle, a researcher, activist, and New Delhi native, who was told by doctors that the city’s air quality was a threat to his health. His lung capacity had gone down 70 percent, and doctors suggested he leave New Delhi. Instead, Meattle chose to stay and find an innovative solution to his health problems and the city’s air quality crisis. New Delhi is no stranger to poor air quality. Sometimes pollution gets so bad, it warrants a city-wide warning for kids to stay inside. Meattle, who studied engineering at MIT, turned to research by NASA and other organizations to address the issue. During his research, Meattle found that there are three common house plants that excel at removing dangerous chemical compounds, like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, from the air: the areca palm, the snake plant (or mother-in-law’s tongue), and the money plant. Using these plants, Meattle created an indoor plant-based air filtering system that allows his building, the Paharpur Business Center (PBC), to cultivate all the fresh air it needs. Air entering the building is cleaned by a scrubber then is filtered through the building’s extensive greenhouse to remove chemicals and bacteria. The greenhouse, and the rest of the building, is filled with areca palms, snake plants, and money plants. Today, the PBC is the healthiest building in New Delhi. Twenty years after Meattle rolled out his plant-based filter system, the results speak for themselves. Employee productivity has gone up 20 percent. Respiratory problems have gone down by 34 percent, headaches by 24 percent, and lung impairment by 12 percent, among other health benefits. Just stepping into Paharpur boosts your health: Blood oxygen levels go up by 1 percent after 10 hours in the PBC. Meattle has remained in New Delhi and is set on helping other Indian businesses replicate his plant-based system so they can grow their own fresh air. As he says of his decision to stay, “Either you are overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many problems and so many people, or you find solutions to help in any way you can.”
Not all exercises are created equal. In fact, there is one form of exercise that is better than many others: walking. Harvard Medical School took a look at various exercises and concluded that walking is up there with swimming and tai chi in terms of health benefits. Regular walking can help maintain good cholesterol and blood pressure levels and keep your bones strong and healthy. One study showed that 40 minutes of walking every day helped people reduce blood pressure from hypertension to prehypertension, and then eventually to normal over several months. Walking can even keep many different kinds of diseases at bay, such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition to these physical benefits, walking daily can improve your mood and overall mental health. As simple and straightforward as walking is, it can be difficult for many people to find the time. Most experts agree that you need 30–60 minutes of physical activity per day, but the good news is that you can split those minutes up throughout your day. For example, you can take a brisk 20-minute walk in the morning before work, followed by another one at lunch and one more after dinner. Those 60 minutes also don’t have to be strenuous; they just need to happen. However, the more time you invest in walking, the more you will get out of it. If you slowly increase your distance and speed, you’ll end up burning more calories and strengthening your legs over time. The great thing about walking is that it’s not particularly taxing on the knees, and you can move at your own pace. It doesn’t get any better than that! To get the most out of walking, schedule your walks for after mealtimes, especially the ones that come later in the day, like lunch and dinner. It’s a great way to aid digestion and burn calories —which can’t hurt your waistline!
Made with FlippingBook - Online magazine maker