Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the country’s first smog tower at Connaught Place on Monday to improve air quality in the national capital. Kejriwal said if the pilot project proves to be successful, it would lead to several such structures being installed in the city.
The installation and inauguration of the smog tower come months before the city’s pollution levels spike as a result of farmers burning crop waste.
Smog towers are designed as large air purifiers. These towers have multiple layers of air filters and fans to suck in air. The air is then purified by the filters and re-circulated into the atmosphere.
The 20-m tower at Connaught Place can improve air quality within a 1-km radius. Constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 20 crore, the tower at Connaught Place will become functional at full capacity at the end of the monsoon. Rai had earlier said the Connaught Place tower would purify 1,000 cu m of air a second.
A similar tower has been installed at Anand Vihar, a pollution hotspot. The 25-m tower will become operational by August-end, the Central Pollution Control Board had said.
Tata Projects Limited built both the towers in collaboration with IIT Delhi and with technical assistance from IIT Bombay. The smog towers are similar to those installed in China, which had tested the technology in Beijing and some of its other polluted cities.
According to a report released in March, Delhi was ranked as the world’s most polluted capital city for the third straight year in 2020 on the basis of air quality in terms of PM 2.5 levels.
Delhi has struggled with severe air-pollution, which peaked in 2017 on both the PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels. This resulted in visibility going down, causing several accidents, including a 24-vehicle pileup on the Yamuna Expressway.
Emissions from motor vehicles are among the major causes for the city’s poor air quality. Although pollution levels are worst between November and February, Delhi’s air contains a mix of vehicle emission, waste byrunning, and construction dust. Fire at the Bhalswa landfill and fire-crackers rich in heavy metal also cause severe air pollution.