(Published in Daijiworld TV & media network in 2018).
In the middle of the good rains, we might have forgotten the extreme conditions of heat and humidity we faced in summer. We blame every other reason before understanding that we are responsible for such conditions. Instead of blaming the extreme conditions, let us appraise how we contributed to such conditions and what we can do to contain them.
We consider many things when we build a home. We spend much money and live inside it with all the discomforts! After spending so much money, naturally we wish our home to be visible from a significant distance. We do not mind cutting the plants and trees for this purpose. Without knowing the consequences of the color and chemistry of the paints, we decorate them with dark and potentially hazardous paints. Primarily because we have not understood the essence of beauty.
It is not the Vaastu of the building that is going to create the problem. As far as the light and air enter the rooms freely, every other aspect holds suitable for the building, need not go after Vaastu. What we do and think about Vaastu now is emotional exploitation for commercial benefits rather than any reality. It is the mindset of the people living inside that decides the peace and prosperity rather than Vaastu.
Having said this, the type of chemicals we use to decorate our homes can play a significant role in being in peace inside the house. Exposed concrete, the type of paint used to decorate the wall, the air fresheners we use inside the rooms, the greenery around our home, hygienic conditions around the physical environment, etc., will decide the comforts inside the home.
Every composition of paint has harmful chemicals called volatile organic chemicals, in the simpler term called VOC chemicals. They are under average room temperature, and pressure reacts to produce harmful gases, which causes uneasiness like dizziness, nausea, irritation, etc. They are carcinogens, and long-term exposure could lead to cancer. The rising number of cancer patients as we embraced the modern lifestyle may also be attributed to the chemicals we inhale at home in various forms.
Any oil paint, polyurethane, and epoxy paint we use have a high percentage of VOC chemicals. The varnishes we use on wooden furniture and other wooden crafts to shine are very high on VOC chemicals. Likewise, the use of air fresheners must be reduced or should not be used at all. Instead, plant a rose near every window and solve the problem naturally.
The frequent frictions among the family members may be attributed to these harmful artificial environments and chemicals they produce to destroy peace. We get agitated quickly because of the side effects of these harmful chemicals and gases around us.
Try to use only water-based flat paints (nonglossy) and pastel colors to reduce the VOC levels and pigments (thinned and used by mixing water). If you want to use polyurethane or epoxies, they are also available now, thinned with water for a slightly higher price. As the temperature is going up every year, we will face severe environmental problems that directly impact our health if we fail to wake up now.
Gulf countries, Europe and many other advanced Western nations have strict adherence policy toward the paint we use for buildings (Green Certification). Unfortunately, in India, this is not implicated strictly. For an ordinary person who wants to follow, the awareness is almost zero. . Asbestos is banned almost in all the advanced countries which sell freely in India. Similarly, the use of PVC should be limited, and re-usage of it should be stopped entirely.
Exposed concrete is a significant concern that absorbs and radiates the heat inside the room, making a living inside almost impossible without the air conditioners on. Moreover, the increase in the usage of Air Conditioners emits harmful gases, which are harmful to the existence of the ozone layer, thereby increasing the risk of high temperature and skin-related diseases.
A simple step of covering the roof with trees and plants can solve this problem quickly. Plant trees that serve the dual purpose of providing shade and enhancing beauty. By erecting a few poles on either side of the home from a few feet from the wall and making plants and trees that bend easily to grow over it, it is possible to quickly cover the roof, providing much-needed relief, heat humidity, and quality of air. Using this method to cover the roof over a few feet distance above the roof /terrace, a home will be visible. The external paint is secured for a more extended period, which may help prevent water leakage inside by preventing direct rains on the concrete roof. Gardening will increase the aroma of the air instead of using air fresheners which may be carcinogenic in the long term.
Let us replace all the usage of artificial things to decorate our home and replace those with a natural setting. The more the greenery around us more we will be at peace. Let us welcome back those beautiful butterflies and birds, particularly the nightingale, which can be seen only on what’s up and Facebook so that the money spent on our home will make our living comfortable inside it.
By Vincent D’sa, Dubai.