Breathing in the winter air

Delhi is currently facing another winter - which, due to the lack of winds during this season, really exacerbates the problem of pollution in the capital. Today the level of PM2.5 particles outside is 282 (the INDIAN safe level being 60). While we can manage it, being able to afford effective air purifiers and masks, the vast majority just bares it. A lack of education about the effects, a lack of a government warning system on particularly bad days like today, and the prohibitive cost of self managed air purification for so many people urgently need to be addressed.

 View from my terrace today

View from my terrace today

And while there are some great private companies doing a lot to tackle this (which I’ll get to soon), there is so much more the state can be doing – and looking to design to solve. Simple practices could be rolling out air purifiers for all classrooms of public schools here, while larger solutions could look into the work of designers such as Daan Roosegaard who designed a large scale air purifier to battle china’s smog problems.

 Architect and Artist Daan Roosegaard's Smog Free Project in China. Image credit: www.studioroosegaarde.net/

Architect and Artist Daan Roosegaard's Smog Free Project in China. Image credit: www.studioroosegaarde.net/

There are also some good smaller companies making a difference such as SmartAir which is trying to bring affordability to air purification in India through low cost DIY purifiers. The company Vogmasks are trying to tackle the stigma in India of wearing a mask while out and about by trying to give a fashionable edge to the humble pollution mask to encourage people to wear them. It is promising to see this kind of work being done in response to the problem and definitely a necessary step to clean up the skies of Delhi.

Here at Aiyope, we are working on a few ideas for a micro-collection to look into how we can bring this issue further into the consciousness. Another important step for all designers is to be assessing the materials and manufacturing of their products and questioning if they are doing enough to stop this issue at its source.