The morning begins with a brisk, humid air. By lunch, your eyes begin to feel itchy. You think, maybe it’s just those pesky morning allergies. You know something is wrong. The air is thick, thicker than it normally is. Around three in the afternoon you peek out the window. An imminent shroud of gray has emerged on the skyline. Your stomach sinks. Air quality readings begin to switch from a comfortable green to a cautionary yellow to a stop what you’re doing and lock yourself indoors red. The haze is back.
Students wait in anticipation for the email from Mr. Farrington with the headline: No School – Haze Day. They sit on the decks at lunchtime breathing in air thick with pollutants, refreshing their emails, waiting.
Haze is a hazard to health, and can have profound effects on the respiratory system, as breathing becomes more difficult. Those with asthma struggle in particular.
Alina ‘18 comments that when haze resurfaces, her asthma “acts up, and I have to carry my inhaler around, around so that sucks.”
While school offers indoor air purifiers as a way to cleanse the air, at home there are multiple alternatives that also help to combat the effects of haze in a much more accessible and environmentally friendly way.
Beeswax candles provide for a natural defense against pollutants. These candles burn clean and help neutralize toxic compounds by ionizing the air. They also burn slower than typical paraffin wax candles, thus saving you money in the long run. Not only do these candles clean air, they offer some ambience, in case you’ve got a date planned.
Scrolling through aesthetic design accounts on pinterest, tumblr, and instagram, Himalayan salt lamps can be seen as a common feature in modern interior design. Little known fact, these salt lamps actually have air purifying qualities. They also act as an ionic air purifier, neutralizing toxins from the environment. These salt lamps are significantly more pleasing to the eye than conventional air purifiers, and can easily be purchased in stores or online. For those who are environmentally conscious, not to worry. These salt lamps require less materials to produce than mechanical air purifiers.
At this very moment, you may be purifying air in your house without realizing it. Common household plants such as the butterfly palm, lady palm, peace lily, chrysanthemum, bamboo palm, weeping fig, english ivy, and chinese evergreen can all contribute to filtering toxins from the air. Look at your local supermarket for these plants. They will offer you a breath of fresh air by not only cleansing your lungs but also amping up your interior design.
When asked about the current haze situation, Alina, executive of the Gardening Club, agreed that more natural alternatives are a sound option for protection from the ill effects of the haze:
“We live in a day and age where we need to take steps towards improving the environment. So why not do something simple like this, which will also improve your health.”