Delhi gets first smog tower today: 5 things about the air purifier at Lajpat Nagar

Updated on Jan 04, 2020 07:17 AM IST
The smog tower has been installed by the Traders Association Lajpat Nagar . It will aim at treating 2,50,000 to 6,00000 cubic meter air per day and release fresh air in return.
The newly installed air purifier at Lajpat Nagar central market, in New Delhi, Thursday, January 2, 2020. The smog tower will purify the air within a circumference area of almost 500 meters to 750 meters.(Amal KS/HT Photo)
The newly installed air purifier at Lajpat Nagar central market, in New Delhi, Thursday, January 2, 2020. The smog tower will purify the air within a circumference area of almost 500 meters to 750 meters.(Amal KS/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAshish Mishra

The first ‘smog tower’ in Delhi will become operational from Friday. The giant 20-ft-tall device has been installed at south Delhi’s popular Lajpat Nagar Central Market. The “smog tower” will purify air in Lajpat Nagar market, which sees an average footfall of nearly 15,000 people every day.

The equipment has been installed by the Traders Association Lajpat Nagar (TALN) with the help of east Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir. The facility will be inaugurated by the cricketer-turned-politician Gambhir at noon today.

General Secretary of the Traders Association Lajpat Nagar, Ashwani Marwah said that such initiatives were the need of the hour keeping in view alarming pollution levels in the city, which has also become a pollution capital.

The air pollution levels have been in an alarming stage in the city as in last 48 hours the air quality has remained in the ‘severe’ category. However, Delhi’s air quality showed an improvement on Friday morning. According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) data, major pollutants PM2.5 was 302 in ‘very poor’ category and PM 10 was at 283 in ‘poor category’ in Lodhi Road area, reports news agency ANI.

The Supreme Court had in November 2019 asked the Centre and the Delhi government to come up with a road map on installing smog towers in the national capital region (NCR) to combat air pollution. The smog towers were to be installed on the lines of China, which has experimented with this technology.

Expert, however, have questioned the feasibility of the project given that Delhi is a congested city where space is at a premium.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy) at Centre for Science and Environment said that there was no data available to establish that these towers clean up outdoor ambient air quality.

“In a city like Delhi, in an open outdoor environment, where pollution levels are high, weather is dynamic and sources of pollution multiple, investing in such devices is not feasible. Nowhere in the world have we seen any data published to establish that this technology improves air quality. The same money must be spent in reducing emissions. We need real action to cut down on real emissions,” said Roychowdhury.

Here are five things you need to know about Delhi’s first smog tower or giant air purifier.

1. Height

The smog tower is 20-ft-tall. It has been erected on a four feet high platform on a covered drain near Veer Savarkar Marg in Lajpat Nagar Central Market. The total height from the road level is 24 ft. Last year, China built the largest smog tower over 328 ft high at Xian in Shaanxi.

2. Cost

The cost of the device is Rs 7 lakh. It has been procured by Gautam Gambhir Foundation and has been installed with the help of Lajpat Nagar Traders Association. The running cost of the device will be around Rs 30,000, which will be borne by the traders’ association.

3. Design

It is cylindrical in design and built like a pole with a big inlet and four outlet units. The giant air purifier is fitted with exhaust fans to suck in polluted air with the help of a big inlet unit. It is painted in four colours – orange on the top, white in the middle, green colour just above the bottom and blue at the bottom. The tower will run on electricity.

4. Area of Influence

This smog tower will purify the air within a circumference area of almost 500 meters to 750 meters. The purifier aims at treating 2,50,000 to 6,00000 cubic meter air per day and release fresh air in return.

5. Pollutants it will treat

A machine fixed inside the tower will remove nearly 80% of the particulate matter i.e. PM 2.5 and PM 10 and help to bring down pollution levels and spew fresh air out through four outlet units.

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