New Delhi is always in the news for the dangerous levels of toxicity and pollution in its air and the harm it can cause to the public. However, for once, the city is attracting attention for something positive in this regard.
Paharpur Business Centre does something unique, setting a great example others can follow to curb the increasing levels of pollution. The six-storey building, constructed in 1990, has a facility for purifying and using air. Though it looks like a normal building on the outside, there is a whole new environment inside — filled with hundreds of plants, this facility is said to be producing toxin-free air that could just as well be from the mountains.
Kamal Meattle, the CEO of the business centre, told Huffington Post, "There are over 1,200 plants or four to every employee on an average; the number of plants it takes to supply quality breathing air for one person." Kamal also went on to talk about reports from World Health Organization (WHO) which say that almost one million people die every year in India due to indoor air pollution, second after blood pressure.
In 1992, Kamal had a drastic decrease in his lung capacity and his doctors strongly recommended he leave Delhi. He, however, didn't pay them any heed and went on to fight the odds. He started to make the business centre green by planting a lot of saplings and cultivating across the entirety of his office. He started with researching what qualities of these plants have the power to purify the air and he matched his conclusions with NASA's previous work. He applied this concept first at home and then adopted it at PBC.
Interestingly, the plants are strategically installed in synergy with the number of people working in each office and each floor. Though the building has air conditioning facilities, the machines are turned on only during the weekends. The atmospheric air initially goes through a processed purification system and is then released into the plants which are situated inside a greenhouse above the sixth floor. The whole intention behind doing this is to remove harmful compounds like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and bacteria.
Cafe Einstein, the restaurant in the business centre, only uses organic materials and employs induction heaters for warming the food, because candles and burners are more harmful. The bulbs in the building are LED ones and all the windows are covered with jute nets, so as to reduce the amount of heat produced. In a chat with Huffington Post, Kamal also said, "The restaurant’s hygiene and fungal levels are lower than any hospital in India, and I confidently invite any doctor to perform medical surgeries in here without any risk of infection."