Development of Step-Wise Ranking for Indoor Plants as Indoor Air Pollutant Purifiers

Research Article

Austin Environ Sci. 2017; 2(1): 1018.

Development of Step-Wise Ranking for Indoor Plants as Indoor Air Pollutant Purifiers

Begum KAJ¹ and Gopinath R²*

¹Department of Biotechnology, MSRIT, India

²Department of Civil Engineering, BMSIT&M, India

*Corresponding author: Rajesh Gopinath, Department of Civil Engineering, BMSIT&M, India

Received: November 25, 2016; Accepted: March 22, 2017; Published: March 30, 2017


When compared to the outdoor air environment, it is indoors which is more polluted owing to various influences. This anthropogenic forced situation hence warrants inception of natural purifiers/filters such as the indoor plants. However literatures available are ambiguous on the ability of all indoor plants and focuses only on a few, and even those are restricted to random pollutants. Since indoor plants do not remove all pollutants, and also all are not known to perform the natural purification act; it can be quite cumbersome to decide which plant is best suited for any generic toxic indoor air environment. While the ranking of indoor plants is very much needed to strategize the indoor air environment pollution abatement measures; unfortunately at present there is no system available to-date to rank the indoor plants or even a methodology to develop it. The present research focuses on developing a mechanism of ranking in terms of maximum pollutant (s) removal efficiency. To achieve this, initially all indoor plants from the existing literatures were identified, and eventually the weighted ‘ranking’ was arrived at by studying several parameters such as ‘number of indoor air pollutants removed’ and ‘removal efficiency in terms of their frequency & magnitude’; based on their relative ‘severity’ ranking. The research arrived at the conclusion that indoor flora namely Spider Plant, Peace Lily, English Ivy and Golden Pothos ranked as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively are relatively the best in terms of indoor air purification.

Keywords: Indoor air quality; Pollutants; Ranking; Indoor plants


Most individuals spend more than 90% of their time indoors. Compared to outdoor environment, it is indoors which is more polluted on account of various reasons ranging from bad ventilation & housekeeping practices to modern & tight constructions [1]. Hence this warrants ergonomic corrective measures such as inception of indoor plants, however all indoor plants do not remove any or all pollutants. Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) has listed about 50 indoor plants that reduce upto 90-95% of toxic chemical present in indoor environment, with NASA supporting this claim [2,3]. These include Aloe Vera (Figure 1), Areca Palm, Arrowhead Vine (Figure 2), Australian Sword Fern, Bamboo Palm (Figure 3), Begonia, Boston Fern, Ceriman, Chinese Evergreen, Corn Plant, Dumb Cane, Elephant-Ear Philodendron, English Ivy, Golden Pothos, Heart- Leaf Philodendron, Lucid Asparagus, Peace Lily, Reed Palm, Spider Plant etc [4]. Their efficiency was confirmed by carrying out studies in controlled conditions simulating the natural environment, over a 24- hour period. The process mechanism involves toxic chemicals being absorbed by the plant through stomata and then transferred to the roots where the microbes break down the wide varieties of unhealthy compounds into simpler molecules which could be reabsorbed by plants [5].