“O-two, Go out and play in fresh air.” I asked my little cousin who was playing brain vita.
“Sis, do you want me to play in air pollution? Or do you want me to play football wearing mask to protect myself from pollution. Moreover, playing in polluted air will lower my I Q level and I won’t be able to win more games in brain vita.” He replied.
“Then, you must know that inside home pollution is 5 times higher than outside and sometimes even more.”
“O, really!” He exclaimed and moved one marble on the board.
“Even, in this room you will be surprised to know that a pungent smelling dangerous pollutant is found and its sources are pressed wooden furniture, cupboards, drapes, foam insulation and carpet. Its name is formaldehyde.”
“And how does casual-dehyde pollutes air?” He giggled.
“Dressed up in ‘3S’ – shirt, snickers and slippers!” He chuckled.
“No, dressed in female attire - sweatshirt, skirt and sandals.”
He laughed aloud and I smiled.
“Come with me, I will show you air pollutants in the kitchen.”
He put his game on the table and accompanied me to the kitchen. He told. “In the kitchen, gas stove is a major air pollutant.”
“Besides that unvented gas from kerosene heater and wood stove emits carbon monoxide.”
“Is carbon monoxide sister of carbon dioxide?” He inquired with a fun in his voice.
“Carbon monoxide is formed when there is not enough oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, tasteless, and highly toxic. It is more harmful to humans and animals as compared to carbon dioxide. It causes dizziness, nausea, headaches and sometimes death.”
We were standing in the kitchen and I explained further to him, “Nitrogen oxide is also produced from the same sources as carbon monoxide and harms human body similarly.”
“Radon is a radioactive gas which is colourless, odourless and tasteless enters silently like thieve in our homes from the surface beneath and from water sources. We are totally unaware if we are inhaling unsafe air.”
“Well ventilation reduces the production and hazards of dangerous family.”
“As soon as I entered the kitchen then my head started aching. It must be because of the presence of these poisonous gases.” He put his left hand on his head.
“Let us open the windows and doors for proper ventilation.”
“Are cockroach killers the source of air pollution?” He pointed out at two bottles placed in the corner of the kitchen.
“Yes, insect killers are source of air pollutants. After spraying, windows should be left open for some time. Let us move to the drawing room and find out sources of air pollutants present there.”
We moved to the left and there was a huge drawing room well equipped with all the modern facilities.
“Aladin’s magic carpet!” He giggled.
I noticed that it was blue coloured carpet with intricate designs woven on it. He sat down on the carpet and ordered, “Fly Carpet Fly and take me to a place where there is no air pollution.” He repeated it several times. When the carpet did not move, he concluded, “There is no place now left in this world without air pollution or my drawing room is the safest place.”
I smiled and explained, “Plastic side tables, chairs or any other plastic products and carpets are the source of styrene which is carcinogenic.”
“To prevent it we should buy more eco-friendly products.” He suggested. I planted a kiss on his left cheek.
I further explained, “Sofa foam, wooden table, fireplace and panels also cause indoor air pollution.”
“We frequently used air fresheners, candles and agarbattis for fragrance. They also add a little to the air pollution.”
“True. You are my intelligent little brother!”
“ Let’s go to the bathroom and I want to show you something new. Sis, come fast!” He hold my hand tightly and almost dragged me. We took to the right, passed from a gallery and at the end; there was a combined toilet and bathroom.
“You have to come inside to see that.” He left my hand and hurriedly went inside.
Curiously, I entered and found he was standing near a handmade devil.
“I made this dustbin. I took a empty cardboard, pasted the coloured paper cuttings to give it a look of a devil.”
“It is very beautiful.”
“ If you press this wooden piece.” He pointed towards the base of dustbin. “Then the devil will open its mouth.” He took out a small piece of toffee wrapper from his pocket and put it in devil’s mouth. “Now, you can try.”
I smiled and said, “Floor tile, pipe insulation and vinyl ceiling are made up of asbestos. The lose fibres of asbestos are hazardous to health. They can cause cancer. This pollution can be prevented by buying good quality asbestos products and by constructing and managing them with expert’s hands.”
“Oh my Gosh! The water pipe started leaking again and fungus has started growing.” He exclaimed.
“The mold, mildew and insects increase air pollution inside house. They cause irritation to eyes, throat and nose. This can be prevented by closing any leakage (as biological sources grows more in moisture), by cleaning the area and by keeping it dust free.” I sighed and continued, “Chloroform which causes cancer is present in chlorine treated hot water showers.”
“I will smell and if it smells like chloroform, I will not bathe.” He winked.
“Naughty boy!” I drew his attention towards a deodorant placed on a glass shelf. “1,1,1 trichloroethane which destroys ozone layer (2 -6 miles away from earth) is produced from aerosol sprays. It is always better to buy non aerosol sprays.”
“ha ha. How wrong I am to think that I can fire aerosol spray to one foot but now I come to know that I can fire it as far as 2 - 6 miles!”
A car honked and he rushed towards the garage saying, “Wow! Papa, came home early today.” I followed him.
He was disappointed to find that the car was not theirs and it stopped at the next door.
To divert his mind I pointed towards a genset and asked, “Do you use it quite often?”
“Not much. We have back up of solar battery. In case of emergency only we use it as it causes air pollution.”
I saw a small container of paint thinner in the corner of wooden shelf. “Paint strippers and thinners contain methylene chloride which is a volatile liquid. It causes nerve disorder and diabetes. The containers should be properly sealed to avoid evaporation. They should be brought in the required amount only. Their storage should be avoided.”
“Oh that! I have to paint a wooden board for my school project. It will be finished in that project. We are standing from a long time and my legs are aching now.”
“Let us go to bedroom and take some rest.”
He lied down on bed and I opened the cupboard to take out my bag from it. A sweet smell entered my nose. I told him, “Tetrachloroethylene is ‘dry cleaning fluid’. It’s sweet odour fumes on clothes can cause nerve disorder, damage to liver and kidney.”
“Riya, my classmate is just like tetrachloroethylene.”
“How?” I asked with bewilderment in my voice.
“Sis, she is very cute, her voice is sweet but she is idiotic. The more I converse with her, more damage I cause to my brain nerves.”
“Para-dichlorobenzene is used as air fresheners, disinfectants, pesticide, deodorants and moth balls. It is colourless solid with odours and a long term exposure can cause cancer.” I drew the structure of para-dichlorobenzene on the paper and showed him.
“There is a plump boy in my class, his tummy is just like a benzene ring and he farts every now and then. Sitting close to him for long time will definitely put me in trouble.” He laughed aloud on his own joke. “Sis, you explained so nicely about air pollutants but don’t you think that you forget to tell me something?”
“Like what?” I inquired.
“VOC? What’s that? Very Obedient Child like O-two!!!” He laughed. It was like a soothing temple bell pealing and echoing.
“VOC’s means Volatile Organic Compounds. As the name indicates, they are organic compounds that are volatile. They evaporate at room temperature causing air pollution. Formaldehyde, methylene chloride, tetrachlroethylene and paradichlorobenzene are all VOC’s. Paints, pesticides, glue, printers, photocopiers, permanent markers and certain building materials are the source. To prevent air pollution from VOC’s one should buy ‘Low VOC’s’ or ‘No VOC’s’ products. Only the quantity needed should be purchased from the market and the storage of VOC’s at home should be avoided. They should be used in well ventilated places.”
He closed his nose with a hanky and said, “From where this foul smell is coming?”
“May be this rat farted.” I saw it crawling on the bed’s headrest.
“It is not a rat, sis. It is guinea pig. Its name is Oink.”
“Oink’s dander has fallen on the headrest.”
“Does my lovely pet causes air pollution?” He asked with a surprise.
“Yup. Respirable particles are suspended particles, which we inhale with air. They can be from pollens, pets, dust mites, cooking smoke particles and tobacco smoke that can causes respiratory problems and eye irritation. They can be controlled by proper ventilation, cleaning and maintenance.”
“A week back, we had a family meeting on the prevention of indoor air pollution. We decided to clean air by growing plants that clean air more like aloe vera, peace lily, bamboo palm, snake plant, spider plant and garden mum in waste and unused vessels. Father quitted smoking, mother stopped using sprays to kill insects and I stopped playing outdoors.” He said with a little wink.
“There was no time to play as I have to work harder to clean air. In the meeting, I explained them about Royale Atmos, the revolutionary paint that purifies air. I with papa went to the nearest Asian paints showroom and brought Royale Atmos paints for our house. It was I who decided which shade of paint to be picked for which room. Out of more than 1750 shades of Royale Atmos, to chose the desired shade was a challenging task for a little boy. I lifted those heavy paint buckets to the car and from car to house. You will be surprised to know that I painted my room myself.”
“Wow! You painted your room so well.”
“Thanks! Thanks!! After painting the house with Royale Atmos paints we solved the indoor pollution problem to a great extent. It has a carbon activated technology which helps in trapping formaldehyde molecule and breaking it into smaller molecules that are harmful.”
“Don’t you watch T.V.? Haven’t you seen the advertisement in which Deepika Padukone wore mask everywhere except in her house as her house was painted with Royale Atmos.”
“Ya. I want to paint my house with Royale Atmos.”
“To breath in pure air at home, you must.” What have you drawn on these sheets? Show me.” On seeing me holding some drawing sheets, he asked.
“I was thinking for writing a post on my blog about air pollution, its causes and possible solution.”
“Let us make a video. I will shoot it for you. We will share in on Facebook for our relatives, neighbours and friends.”
“That’s a great idea. Let us mix my knowledge and your knowledge for better solutions.”
After watching it, he said, “What a boring video! In school, when teacher showed such boring videos then I go to sleep with my eyes wide open!!”
“But how can you sleep with your eyes wide open?” I desperately wanted to know this secret.
“Practice, Sis, Practice. Practice makes a child perfect!”
“By the way, when your are planning to paint your house with Royale Atmos?”
“Next weekend, I will be free. But which shade should I chose of blue colur as it is my favourite? I will need you valuable advice in selecting the correct shade.”
“Sure. Any time, sis, anytime for you!” He gently hold my hand and said, “Aladin’s carpet didn’t fly and stayed in my drawing room because of Royale Atmos paint on the walls. My drawing room has the purest air. Now air is so clean that you can do yoga indoors.”
I spread the durrie, sat down cross-legged and took a deep breath. I said, “You are the oxygen of my life.”
“That’s why my parents named me O-two.”