Our lifestyle is very different in today’s world. Earlier we used to spend a lot of our free time outdoors. But today if we are not in our offices, schools or homes then we are often visiting a shopping mall or a movie theatre or a play area with kids.
All these places are indoors, closed and centrally air-conditioned – perfect place for harbouring dust, mites, molds, bacteria and odour. To top it all the furnishings, seatings and building material add to the indoor air pollutant. With so many people visiting this closed environment all at once, puts added pressure on the indoor air.
Any perfumed agents they use to mask these smell only adds to the indoor air pollutant. Chemical fumes released from fresh paints, solvents or cleaners also add to the already clogged air particles.
The fact that they are closed and air-conditioned most of the times all days in a week these recreational places and their HVAC ducts need more attention. And more regular cleaning than any other place. The bathrooms too have a build up of mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses and daily cleaning agents. Since the HVAC ducts are all connected, all these only rotate in the entire building.
These recreational places often have a kitchen or pantry attached. Some malls even have mutliple small kitchens catering to all kinds of taste. There are about 20-25 small stalls offering variety to the people shopping. From frying to baking, every item is cooked in the same premises that are connected to the same HVAC duct. This only adds to the grease build up in the same duct. This not only adds to the bad IAQ but also poses a fire threat.
No wonder small children fall sick often. We take our children to malls, theatres and play areas – bacteria, viruses and dust rotate in these places and little children catch them faster since their immune system is even weaker and yet developing.
Almost all these recreational places have a parking lot. This parking place invariably has carbon monoxide, paints, solvents, mold & mildew, gasoline fumes, pesticides and herbicide. This place also has the pollution from outside. And the parking areas are the last place that gets cleaned, especially the air rotating in this place.
Recreational areas and why they harbour bad IAQ:
· They are open everyday
· HVAC doesn’t get cleaned
· Construction that happens around
· Dust and biological dirt that is left behind due to high population
· Odor due to humans, furnishings, building material and cleaning agents
· Mold, mildew, bacteria and virus
· Pet dander that come in with people
· Inadequate fresh air
So the next time you want to step out with your family, a picnic or a walk by the lake or garden would be a much better idea than visiting a shopping mall or theatre or a play area.