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Air Purification by Plants!

Planetous tries to clear the air over much debated status of plants being capable of purifying air. We ran our lenses through the much talked about NASA's clean air study and here we bring to you the four most frequently asked questions

Can plants clean air?
Whats so much about NASA clean air study?
How many plants are required keep my indoor air fresh?

Can plants clean air?

Yes. And we all know it since our early school days. Plants take up carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in the process of photosynthesis and this is the process that restores atmospheric oxygen.  Many studies have shown that plants also remove chemicals from indoor air environment, this becomes especially important when we seal off the indoors from outdoor environment due to pollution, dust or any other reason. Same is the case for office areas which are often isolated from fresh air.


Whats so much about NASA clean air study?

The study dates back to1989 and proves the potential of plants in purifying air. Although, it was conducted in highly controlled conditions in a chamber because NASA researchers were looking for ways to effectively detoxify the air of space station environments and those who condemn its findings, mainly focus on this part.  Dr B.C Wolverton, who carried out the study with his team back then, still advocates the abilities of plants to purify indoor air through his “Wolverton Environmental Services”. Since then, many researches with different setups have been carried out and results have proved the potency of plants to purify air at each time. The claims that challenge the ability of plants for air purification fail to appreciate the immense potential of plants to remove carcinogenic VOCs.


How many plants are required to keep my indoor air fresh?

Although it’s difficult to find out how many plants are good to purify a space as it largely depends on the conditions. But Wolverton usually recommends at least two “good sized” plants per 100 square feet of interior space. Since having a plant at home doesn’t come with any cons, we can have some more to provide some extra cushion. As we hail out, “Bring the jungle in!”  is an effort by Planetous to encourage people to adopt as many plants as possible to mend the broken links with nature.   


Air Purifier v/s Plants

The two things cannot be put against each other to fight. An air purifier can definitely not do what plants can. It cannot absorb compounds and break them. In fact, most of the air purifiers are not equipped with technology that can tackle VOCs. Further, Air purifier is something mechanical that cannot grow Air. It definitely is not able to increase oxygen levels. Waste generation and sustainability are few more issues that are a big con for air purifiers.


Organic plants are no comparison to Air Purifiers when it comes to restoring the natural environment. But human intervention has led to some scenarios where mechanical action is required to repair the misdeed. This is the case with particulate air pollution. Particulates need and adsorbent/ absorbent surface in order to be removed from air and a device like a purifier  can prove helpful.Although, an air purifier may augment the capacities of the plants in your home when it comes to severely polluted conditions especially if AQI very poor, but, as advocates of green solutions, we personally don't recommend air purifiers for removing particulates. Natural products such as activated charcoal are also a good solution to the problem. . At Planetous we try different soil compositions to assist our plants in absorbing particulates.

Air purifier


BC Wolverton; WL Douglas; K Bounds (September 1989). Interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatemen

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