Plants clean this office building’s air in the world’s most polluted city


Since we’ve just closed out the jolliest year in recent memory, here’s a pick-me-up fact to kick off the new one: In India, toxic indoor air kills 1.3 million people per year and is the country’s second major cause of death behind high blood pressure. Typically, cleaning the air inside buildings means more ventilation. But in New Delhi, home to the world’s most polluted outdoor air (it’s nearly three times as dirty as Beijing’s infamous haze), ushering the outside smog indoors only makes things worse.

Kamal Meattle, CEO of Paharpur Business Center, came up with a green scheme to detoxify the noxious air before bringing it into his company’s office building: a rooftop greenhouse filled with 400 garden-variety plants. Additionally, the building houses 800 more plants spread throughout its bottom six floors, greening the interior and improving breathability. Meattle also retrofitted the building — the country’s first to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum certification for…

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