Air conditioners: a blessing or a curse?


Just as the summer in north India touches the 40 degree margin, the use of air conditioners go exponentially up. No matter whether someone lives in a janta flat or a bunglow, absence of an AC at her house is unlikely. The heavy electricity bill becomes a no bar when it comes to buying one. Such is the need and the addiction to ACs today. But what if I tell you that these air conditioners that we don’t consider less than a blessing in summers have severely harmful effects on both the environment and our skin. Would you still like to use it as much?


The first and the most important problem that these air conditioners create is that they require a lot of electricity to run. This is a problem because this electricity is made from burning fossil fuels which is already fast depleting. ACs add an extra burden on the environment. Also, the burning of these fossil fuels release a lot of heat and carbon dioxide that gets trapped in our environment due to greenhouse effect. As we all know greenhouse effect is one of the major reasons for the increasing global warming. It is very important for us to keep this global warming in check because it won’t be very far in future when it will backfire on us. We need to understand that it a matter of existence of the entire mankind. We need to take this problem seriously. Beside this, the fossil fuels burned for the production of energy also release a lot of harmful gases that lead to other problems like pollution and acid rain. Also, there are harmful refrigerants chemicals in air conditioners that are instrumental in depleting our ozone layer. Especially, air conditioners made before 1990s contain Freon 12 as a refrigerant gas, which is a cfc, extremely harmful for the ozone layer. However, its usage has been banned across the world. You might be surprised to know that air conditioners release three times as much heat outside as they remove inside and thus they make the environment hotter than they cool your homes. This further creates a burden for our environment. The point is that this is almost like being stuck in a circle, we use air conditioners to save ourselves from the heat of the environment and the environment gets further heated because we use air conditioners. This is exactly the reason why summers are getting hotter year after year. I say when ACs along with so many environmental problems also burns a hole in our pockets due to the heavy electricity bills, then why use them so much?


In fact, the negative impacts of ACs is not only limited to the environment and it also extends to health and skin problems. It is a serious threat to the health of those who use ACs regularly and for long. This is because as the AC gets older, the air filters stop working properly, it starts pulling the harmful components of the environment and releases it in the room. This might be very dangerous for the health of the person. The sudden changes in temperature as the person frequently moves in and out of an AC room can cause some serious respiratory problems. Even the air circulation can cause infectious respiratory diseases. Air conditioning is often associated with chronic rhinitis and pharyngitis, throat irritation and hoarseness and it is also not very healthy for eyes. It can cause problems to contact lens wearers. Also it can exacerbate eye conditions such as conjunctivitis. Also the unnatural coldness has various side effects. Flue and cold type symptoms being some of them. So these unseen problems can become really serious if not given proper attention.


Apart from that, air conditioners also have a terrible effect on your skin. It is mainly because, the prime job of these conditioners is to remove the moisture from the air. However, we don’t realize that this moisture is extremely important for our skin. Lack of moisture robs the skin of its outer layer epidermis. This constant loss of water results in dryness, flaking and chapped skin. The skin losses its elasticity, this is because water is required to keep the blood flowing. This loss of humidity results in other things like it speeds up the aging process as skin starts developing creases and wrinkles. What else? These airborne dust and fungi can cause dangerous allergic reactions to your skin. So do you still want to go for this luxury, compromising so many other things? I am sure nobody wants to stay cold at the cost of their beautiful skin. We should look for other more green as well as environment friendly ways to keep ourselves cool in summers. Drink a lot of water, take bath twice or thrice in a day and use other cooling machines like air coolers and fans. In fact, fans are the best because they are useful in circulating air and hence we are less prone to fungus and other microorganisms harmful for our skin and health. Apart from that, even when you are using an air conditioner, make sure you minimize its usage and depend more on the natural sources of coolness. The less dependent you are on AC, the better it is for your health and pocket. Also, take care that you regularly get your air conditioner checked and serviced. This will help reduce its harmful impact on the environment as it will keep the release of refrigerants in check. So happy summers!



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