We can choose what we want to listen to, look at or eat, but can we choose the air we breathe?

The consumption of fossil fuels, waste treatment, and the use of pesticides mean that 99% of the population live in polluted areas and according to WHO, more than three billion people are breathing unhealthy air in their own homes.
The most polluted country is Bangladesh, followed by Chad, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and India. Atmospheric pollution, the third cause of death after high blood pressure and smoking, is present all over the planet, leading to millions of deaths.


However, what is even more worrying is indoor pollution which has an extremely high impact on health, considering that people spend an average of 93% of their time in closed environments, unaware of what they are breathing.

Much has been said about Sick Building Syndrome, caused, as well as by external pollution, by radon, damp, mould, and by a lack of ventilation, and the use of solvents, making it a grave danger to people’s physical and mental wellbeing.


Considering the connections between outdoor and indoor pollution, it is essential to act on three levels: urban contexts, buildings, and purification systems. There are different strategies in place to improve air quality: from energy from renewable sources to green roofs, through to the promotion of sustainable mobility, car sharing and more efficient transport.

As far as concerns buildings, the Nearly Zero Energy Building, NZEB standard has been introduced at legislative level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 36% of which can come from buildings.

Global purifier markets saw an increase of 12.26 billion dollars in 2021. A further 8.1% growth is forecast for the period 2022-2030. As well as HEPA filters, ionic filters are now becoming increasingly popular, together with technologies using UV radiation and photocatalytic oxidation systems. Another innovative system uses water.


In the future we will be seeing wearable purifiers, such as headphones for listening to music and purifying the air. Many companies are investing in artificial intelligence for their purifiers.

There is a variety of interesting proposals in the marketplace, combining architecture, design, and engineering. One example is the Smog Free Tower in Rotterdam, or the Carbon Tile devised by a Mumbai start up. In the same way as architecture affects the best construction of buildings, the design of new air purifiers, which from simple functional appliances become furnishing elements, can also improve mental and physical wellness.

At last, we are able to choose the air we breathe!

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