NEW DELHI: A new effort to purify New Delhi’s notoriously polluted air will see forty giant fans displace filtered air in the heart of the Indian capital’s posh shopping district.
But the $ 2 million (Ringgit 8.4 million) “tower of smog” has no shortage of doubters who say it won’t help a city infamous for its dirtiest air in the world.
The tower is 25 meters (82 feet) high and is designed to filter air within a 1 km² radius around the chic shops and cafes of Connaught Place.
Buildings in the British Colonial era are hit by gray-yellow smog every winter.
“Smog is an annual occurrence due to particulate matter. So we are (trying) to contain it, ”said Anwar Ali Khan, who is in charge of the project.
The engineer added that the goal is to remove up to 50% of the deadliest PM2.5 particles from the air.
The city said more towers could be built if this experiment worked.
Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal once called the capital of India a “gas chamber” because of its heavy pollution.
Experts say that while smog towers may work, they are just a pinprick against the relentless enemy of car and truck exhaust fumes, construction mud, industrial emissions and crop fires that have engulfed the city of more than 20 million.
“Installing smog towers has never been and will never be the solution,” said Sunil Dahia, an analyst at the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research. AFP…
“If we really, really want to tackle the pollution problem, it needs to be tackled at the source.”
Dahiya added that the tower will be powered by conventional electricity, with over 70% of India’s electricity generated from coal.
“So we will only increase pollution in other parts of the country.”
China built a 60-meter-high smog tower in the heavily polluted city of Xi’an, but the experiment did not spread to other cities.
Delhi’s attempts to halve the number of cars allowed on city roads have been unsuccessful.
“All governments say they are working to reduce pollution, but we are not seeing results,” said Delhi resident Pradeep Kumar. AFP…
Engineers hope to complete the smog tower by August 15, when India celebrates Independence Day.
More mega purifiers are already in development in Delhi and Bangalore.
“The goal is not to purify the air in Delhi, but to create special zones where people can breathe,” said engineer Ali. – AFP