Much beyond dust and smoke, there’s also particulate matter that isn’t visible to the naked eye. Current environmental conditions in Delhi and its adjoining regions isn’t short of an emergency. And in a nation as complex and diverse as India, politics is only naturally intertwined in an ever so vociferous blame-game. What used to be a bittersweet tussle between the two leading cities of the country is now turning into empathy and compassion.
The first line of defense in the immediate pollution peril is wearing masks. Think about it. How safe are you with an environmental hazard as bad as bad air, that you have no choice but to breath in? As much as you isolate yourself from the presence of polluted air, consider this; if your phone could be unlocked using the most complex features such as fingerprint or face recognition or iris scanning, but your device pin is 1234, it doesn’t count as a protective feature anyway.
In a similar way, if you have managed to keep yourself isolated from the smoky environment out there, that’s good for you. If you’ve proactively taken the decision of wearing a mask, well that’s commendable. But what’s the use of having a millimeter of gap around your nostrils that allow particulate matter to trickle into your respiratory tract? Allergens would still impact you, and carcinogens are still out there to get you. It’s a state of war, and your smallest mistake could cost you dear.
The reason I’m writing about masks is because I really want to write about air purifiers. Despite being technology products I’ve not been able to entirely understand, I find them all the more relevant these days. My heart reaches out to citizens living in the NCR. What use is technology of, if it can’t enable humans to live clean, healthy lives? Of course, as humans we’re at fault for creating the chaos we have. But it’s not much to expect our advancements in technology to help us alleviate quite a few of the symptoms we experience, is it?
Similar to masks, there are quite a few kinds of air purifiers out there in the market that are priced at varying price ranges. And this is the kind of tech buying decision we’re constantly faced with these days. We can see the air around us isn’t very healthy to breathe. Years ago it used to be a problem the Chinese faced. So what if it was in our backyard. It wasn’t our problem. But now, the problem has reached out doorstep. As humans, we’ve failed our future generations. It’s time to wake up. The least we could do is give the next generation a healthier life. By ensuring they have access to clean air to breathe.
The least that technology offers us today is air purifiers. Among the most affordable out there in the market currently is the Xiaomi Air Purifier. The device was priced at Rs. 9999, and is currently available at a discounted price of Rs 8999.
It works like a vacuum cleaner, where the rest of the world (or at least your room) is the area you’re trying to clean. You’ve sealed yourself in an environment where external air cannot enter, there’s enough air for you to not feel suffocated. And if all goes well, the machine would recycle the air in such a way that all you’d have is particulate matter separated out. So all you get is clean and healthy air.
Xiaomi isn’t the only company that manufactures air purifiers. Among other companies that are in the segment are Hindustan Unilever, Honeywell, LG, Philips, Samsung and Sharp to name a few. Less than a decade ago, this was an unheard of segment in India. But today, it’s big business to sell air purifiers, particularly in Delhi-NCR.
Xiaomi’s value for money product
We at BGR have reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2, which is currently available for Rs 8,999. It’s been well over a year since we’ve been using it, and what I can say with a great deal of assurance is that it does an effective job. Right from the setting up process to using it, it’s a hassle free affair. You simply plug in the purifier, switch it on, and follow the instructions of the Mi Home app on your smartphone.
Before you realize it, you’d be able to see most parameters that matter. From temperature and humidity levels, to the dreaded PM 2.5 readings, the Mi Home app gives you a report card of how things stand, in real time. In addition, the app also allows you to control fan speed, and tells how when you need to change the EPA filter.
At Rs 8,999, the Mi Air Purifier 2 provides you with a turbine fan capable of creating an indoor cyclone, passing air through a cylindrical 3-layer EPA filter with activated coconut charcoal that absorbs odor and formaldehyde, which are modern day irritants and allergens.
In the auto mode, the Mi Air Purifier 2 knows exactly when to cut off. When the PM 2.5 levels are under control, the cyclone will turn into a gentle breeze.
Perfect for the Indian home
An average Indian kitchen is notorious, especially during the critical event of a tadka being applied to gravies and the innocent dal. Heated oil, with mustard seeds and curry leaves can create havoc. I personally tend to sneeze and have teary eyes. In part that’s also due to the state of ventilation where I live. There are two solutions to this. One, use an exhaust fan which delivers this rich goodness to my neighbor, or purify the air that’s within my house so that my neighbor and I are both happy and at peace with each other.
That’s the advantage of an air purifier. You’re able to ensure cleaner, healthier air where you live. Now whether you have a room size that’s small or whether you live in a mansion, the Mi Air Purifier 2 can deliver clean air in anywhere between 4 to 11 minutes, from an average room size of 7 to 23 sq. meters. At just 4.8 W, it’s consumes far less power than even an Echo speaker. If the particulate matter levels in your home is under control, the Mi Air Purifier 2 switches to a silent mode, where the fans blades are turning, but you could whisper to your pet dog, and he’ll still wag his tail.
I have 90 days remaining on my filter. After that, all I need to do is buy a filter at Mi.com, open the tray behind, and simply swap the new filter in. It’s as simple as pull out the old, and push in the new. Switch on, and you’re good to go for another six months. Or less, depending on your air quality.
An air purifier is an excellent piece of technology. But just like a mask, you need to ensure that your home is absolutely insulated. For example, if you have an air conditioner and can shut off your room from the outside, then the air purifier will work just fine. If not, just ensure that any holes around window panes are sealed, so that the room is insulated from any external air seeping in. If you can make that happen, the air purifier will work wonders for you. I live in a relatively clean area of Navi Mumbai with a lot of trees around, but anything could trigger an allergic spree of sneezing. Even pollen from innocent flowering plants can do that to me.
That’s what makes PM 2.5 such a critical benchmark for cleaning air. Get as many of the smallest particles out tof the air you breathe and you should be fine. Your mucous membrane is able to take care of dust and other particles in the air. For now, I stand convinced of the need for an air purifier. And I’d advise you to get one too, particularly if you’re facing the pollution in Delhi-NCR.