My Latest Obsession

One of my (many) personality flaws is a tendency to obsess. I can’t let things go. With effort, this flaw can be channeled for positive results, like dedication to a task or a learning outcome. Left to its own devices, though, it can lead to negative results like addiction. I sure hope that my newest gadget helps me channel my nervous energy toward positive activities, and lets me let go of my obsession with air quality.

In the four months here, I have yet to experience long periods of good air in Bangladesh. The air quality in Dhaka always seems to be iffy at its best. Now, in the dry season, I hear that the brick kilns are fired up 24/7 now, creating an air appocalypse, or “airpocalypse.”

When I was in China, monitoring the AQI (air quality index) was a constant task (obsession). I had something like six AQI apps on my phone. In the morning, right after turning off my alarm, I would check the AQI, so I would know if I had to wear a mask when going to work. I didn’t worry about the air quality inside my apartment, because the facilities management folks assured me that it was OK.

I have less confidence in the air quality in my villa here in Dhaka. I can smell the pollution. So I recently bought a little air quality monitor, the Kaiterra Egg. It’s small, portable, and constantly monitoring the ambient air.

Den’s Dhaka Egg

It also links to an app, so I can check the AQI at home from my phone, even when I’m out.

When I started monitoring, the monitor showed that the air inside is bad. At one point, it was even worse inside than it was outside. For some reason.

The air monitor at the Embassy, less than a half-mile away, and inside my house.

The facilities management unit was nice enough to give me an additional air filter, bringing the total to five for my villa.

Love my Blueair air filters.

My wife found the more egregious holes (mainly in the bathrooms), and we used gaffer tape to fill them. That action, plus the additional air filter, improved the air inside. The bathrooms are still a big problem, though. We still have to ask facilities to come and seal up the exhaust fans and other holes that we can address.

Maybe, now that we know where the problem is, we can take steps to address it, and I can stop obsessing about the air quality, and start managing the problem.

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