2021 - Compass Stage
Lidia Morawska on Health
Lidia Morawska (AU)
Queensland University of Technology
Prof. Morawska introduces the complexity of the concept of “clean air”. As opposed to water or food, air is much more difficult to distinguish as being not clean, especially within an indoor space. The combination of a lack of awareness of the quality of air with different sources and factors impacting its quality amplifies this.
Morawska et al. studies these sources of pollution in three settings: home, school and office. The former is impacted particularly through indoor sources, while the two latter are significantly impacted by sources from the outside diminishing the quality indoors. This is due to the different uses of these buildings. Morowska stresses that the impact of indoor air pollution on humans is crucial as we more than 95% of our time we are inside, thus inhaling indoor air. The highest exposure to ultrafine particles is at home, as we spent a lot of time sleeping – the overall concentration is low, yet the time spent at home counters that.
Prof. Morawska and her colleagues are interested in a paradigm shift after the pandemic. One important space is so called “smart homes”, where there is a potential to implement instruments to combat indoor respiratory infections. According to different scholars, there is a need to change in what way we think about the design, equipment and operation of buildings to minimize all air risks, including airborne infection transmissions.
In the discussion with the moderator, Prof. Morawska once more stresses that scientist, architects, and engineers are on the same page, yet there is no (political) will from governments and homeowners to invest and propagate technologies for clean indoor air. Further, she stresses that this pandemic – akin to other ones before – could be a turning point in the public’s perception of the importance of clean indoor air.