Mission: Plant
Think about air quality

Most of the time when we think about air quality and air pollution, we think about the outdoor air, and that is important, because air pollution is about the air we breathe as well as the cause of acid rain. But there is more to air quality and air pollution than outdoor air. Air is also indoors - it is the air we breathe in the offices and schools where we work and in our homes where we live.


Too often, however, we forget about this air quality, the indoor air quality, when we think about air pollution. But indoor air quality is a growing concern because in recent studies and reports compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it was discovered that asthma has reached epidemic proportions with almost one in 13 kids having asthma - a condition that can be aggravated by air pollution and ozone. The EPA also considers indoor air as one of the top environmental health risks in America! In addition, a US Government Accounting Office report indicated that over half of the schools have problems with indoor air quality. Plus, our homes are being built with more and more insulation to keep out the cold air and this means there is no ventilation or exchange of fresh air inside the home.

The problem is that as long as we just think about air pollution being the outside air that we breathe and this air quality is effected by car exhaust and smoke stacks, then we are missing a big part that is the source to health and illness. Indoor air pollution is the quality of air that is in our very own homes and schools - and this air pollution can be just as nasty as outdoor air pollution because it too can lead to asthma attacks and other health problems.

The good news is that there are things that we can do to help both outdoor and indoor air pollution. Organizing car pools or riding your bicycle to school is one step in the right direction. Planting trees also clean our air of pollutants - and this goes for indoor air also. You don't have to plant a tree indoors, you can, however, put potted plants in your rooms at home, school or even the office. These potted plants clean the air of indoor pollutants just like trees clean the air outdoors. So the next time your mom yells at you to, "Close that door!", use that opportunity to talk to her about indoor air pollution and the need to have ventilation in the home.

Lauren from the Dewey Elementary School in San Diego, CA made this drawing of her planting a tree in a forest.
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