Feng shui means wind-water
Feng shui literally means ‘wind-water’ (not ‘wind and water’ as some feng shui authors and consultants incorrectly translate).
Wind or Air
Wind or air is the most important element for life. Without air, we can only live for a short while. Oriental people knew how air pollution will affect people in the future. For example, in London, 26 people die every day from air pollution-related conditions. In cities, short of using electric cars, there is little one can do to improve air quality. But you can improve the quality of air in your home. Most people don’t realise that according to research the indoor air can be generally between two and five times more polluted than the air outside.
What makes indoor air toxic?
Smoking and burning solid are two major sources of indoor air pollution. In some rare conditions, insulation that contains asbestos can be inhaled as it decays. Other common contributors to poor indoor air quality are:
Furniture (toxic adhesives)
Flooring and carpeting
Cleaning products (laundry detergents)
Beauty and personal care products
Moisture, mold, dust mites
Outdoor pollution sources, such as smog, radon and pesticides
Central HVAC systems
How air pollution affect our health?
Indoor air pollution can trigger respiratory problems in children and adults. Air pollution kills about 50 000 people in the UK every year (about 10 000 in London alone – so about 26 people every day in London). The British government has been in breach of its legal obligation to deal with it for years now! Air pollution is the number one public health emergency now. And your home can be polluting you. You have some choice in your home. For example, most modern paints have volatile compounds that are given off as the paint dries which in the short term can give you headaches and in the long term can be carcinogenic. Choose low odour paints which are now readily available.
“Indoor pollution is a very serious problem and health threat, not just in China but worldwide,” says Sieren Ernst, founder of environmental consultancy Ethics & Environment. “Most people spend 90% of their time indoors, and the exposures that we are getting from that time remain largely unexamined.”
What can you do at home to minimise pollution
• If you live on a busy road plant some hedges (Portuguese laurel and privet) which will dilute pollution
• Get air cleansing plants (NASA research suggests red-edged dracaena, spider plants and peace lilies as three most effective – read more about air cleansing plants)
• Don’t use fireplaces (studies suggest that up to a third of fine particle matter in London is form woodburning stoves)
• Check the boiler (faulty gas appliances are the major source of carbon monoxide poisoning – which kills about 50 people a year in Great Britain)
• Stop using detergents which are chemical-laden
• Stop using candles, spray, etc which usually give off pollutants
Hotel Cardis in China charges for clear air
It is well-known fact that China is struggling with the problem of heavily polluted air. No one is surprised by passers-by who wear filter masks, as well as the Cardis Hotel in Shanghai, which offers its visitors a rather unusual service, consisting in breathing extremely clean air. Hotel Cardis has double air filtering system, and each room has its own pollution sensor. It can, therefore, be assumed that nowadays, breathing with clean air is a real luxury for which you need to pay extra. Such a reality exists at least in cities like Shanghai, Beijing or Delhi. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) prepared a report that informs that every year about 7 million people die prematurely due to diseases resulting from air pollution, such as lung cancer and heart attack. As you can see there are many businesses willing to cash on this statistics. Clean air is already gaining the title of “bio” and “eco” food, several times more expensive than standard products on shelves. So far, a hotel from China is just an example, but in some time it may be the norm for the majority of the urbanised world.
In London: CityTree, Airlabs bus stop and pigeon patrol
CityTree a 4m high vertical garden in Piccadilly Circus inhales pollution and exhales fresh air – doing, its creator Green City Solutions claims, the work of 275 trees in 1% of the space. Powered by solar panels, the “living wall”. which is made of moss cultures – also collects rainwater and redistributes it using an inbuilt irrigation system. Last year Piccadilly-based start-up Airlabs transformed three London bus stops into clean air zones, with units filtering out up to 97% of nitrogen dioxide from the air for commuters. The technology was independently tested by King’s College London at its air quality monitoring location on Marylebone Road, one of the most polluted roads in London. In 2016 marketing agency DigitasLBI launched a squadron of pigeons wearing air quality sensors to fly around London, mapping the pollution that was affecting the capital. These racing pigeons, now sadly retired, could fly at 60·80 mpb, which resulted in comprehensive mapping. See the data at pigeonairpatro.com
How can you improve air quality in your home or workplace?
The first step is obvious: reduce the air pollutants (see above) which includes candles or incense. Make sure that you have proper venting around combustible appliances and that the vents go directly outside as well as in your bathroom (you absorb more chlorine from showering than from drinking water because of water droplets).
Key additions are also:
1) Open windows regularly
2) Have many air cleansing plants
3) Get negative ions ionisers
4) Invest in air filters