India’s first smog tower inaugurated in Delhi’s Connaught Place

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smog tower

Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, inaugurated India’s first smog tower at Connaught place on Monday. It is an experimental setup worth Rs. 20 crore to limit increasing air pollution within the radius of one kilometer, at a rate of around 1,000 cubic meters of air per second. The tower is located behind the Shivaji Stadium Metro station in Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place. It was raised at a height of 24.2 meters according to a senior official of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). The Delhi Pollution Control Committee has been established as a regulatory authority for implementing various pollution control laws.

Air pollution is the world’s biggest environmental issue. Almost 14% of deaths worldwide were caused by air pollution in 2012 alone. This rate is more than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. The increased release of greenhouse gases such as CO2 has caused a hole in the ozone layer as well. Also, it has increased the risk of lung and heart-prone diseases amongst people- which is directly infecting the country’s GDP. Thus, looking for ways to alter the threat is the need of the hour.

Anatomy of Smog Tower

The idea of Smog Tower was adopted by China, who in its efforts to reduce air pollution has installed several such towers in Beijing and other cities. The tower is called experimental as its data will be analyzed to read the efficiency. The Delhi government would look into the result and would install more such structures if counted useful. For this, a pilot study will be carried out by IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay for the next two years. If the project is not successful then new techniques will be added, according to CM Kejriwal.

The smog tower is designed to work as a large-scale air purifier, with multiple layers of air filters and fans attached to the base. Around 40 such fans and 5000 filters are sucks at the base of the tower. These are electrostatic air filters that can filter microparticles, including smoke, household dust, and pollen, according to the project description. The air entered will be filtered through multiple levels before ultimately being re-circulated in the atmosphere. The tower set up in Delhi is expected to filter purify 1,000 cubic meters of air every second. Another similar smog tower of 25 meters tall is being set up at Anand Vihar, Delhi, and will start functioning by the end of August. The towers are being built by Tata Projects Limited.

smog tower

Delhi tops the air pollution index as being the most polluted city of India. The air quality of the capital is worst among the major cities of the world according to a WHO survey. India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences published research in October 2018 stating almost 41% to vehicular emissions, 21.5% to dust, and 18% to industries. Despite overwhelming evidence of the severe air pollution and of course the consequences, Delhi’s policy measures remained weak. Supreme Court has asked the Central and Delhi government to fix the issue in November 2019. To which the Delhi government has responded by installing smog towers at various local hotspots of the city.

Though the project seems much effective from the local point of view, the critics remain skeptical. “Let’s just be clear that this is futile, an absolute waste, now that taxpayers’ money has been spent, let Delhi be the test case for all other Indian cities to ensure no other city spends on such ideas which we can’t afford” Karthik Ganesan from the Council on Energy, Environment and Water told the AFP news agency.  

The initial reports of the smog tower will be submitted within a month, says Arvind Kejriwal. Till then we hope, the tower works to efficiently reduce the ramping air pollution of the city. 

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