Delhi govt identifying spots in CP, Anand Vihar to install smog towersUpdated: Jan 17, 2020 21:44 IST
The Delhi government is in the process of identifying spots to install smog towers at Connaught Place and Anand Vihar, after the Supreme Court directed the state and Central governments to experiment with the technology to fight air pollution in the national capital, officials said.
The apex court, in its January 15 order, gave the Centre and Delhi government three months to come up with a pilot project of installing smog towers in the two areas.
A smog tower is a concrete structure fitted with multiple layers of filters to work as large-scale purifiers. It requires an area of about 30x30m to be installed.
A senior Delhi government officer said a team from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) along with officials of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the civic body that looks after Lutyens’ Delhi, will inspect Connaught Place area on Monday to identify a spot where the tower can be installed.
“We have had a meeting with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) regarding the project. We have an inspection of Connaught place scheduled for Monday. Since it’s a strategic location, finding a suitable spot will be tough,” said Sanjeev Khirwar, chairman, DPCC and Delhi government’s environment secretary.
The SC had in November 2019 asked the Centre and the Delhi governments to come up with a roadmap on installing smog towers in the National Capital Region (NCR) to combat air pollution.
A proposed pilot project to consider the efficacy of smog towers is underway by the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-Bombay) in collaboration with IIT-Delhi and the University of Minnesota, in the United States. The US-based institution has helped build a smog tower in Xi’an, northern China.
“After the court directions last year, we had decided on setting up a smog tower at Anand Vihar, which has remained a pollution hotspot over the years. Connaught Place was also added in the recent order. Once the locations are finalised, we will start work on the project. We are going to meet IIT-Delhi again to discuss project details,” said Khirwar.
According to DPCC officials, the smog towers at CP and Anand Vihar will be the first such experiment to be taken up the city government that will test the feasibility of smog towers in beating air pollution.
Meanwhile, at Lajpat Nagar’s central market, where the traders association had installed a 20-feet tall smog tower earlier this month, people said the air does feel better. Shalini Gupta, 46, a resident, said, “I come to the market almost every other day. When I enter the area near the tower, the air feels cleaner. One could feel the difference, as one moves out of its ambit.”
The association, however, said that though the air quality index readings are better in the area when compared to others;they need at least a month’s data is required to establish its effect.
The tower was set up with the help of east Delhi MP Gautum Gambhir. It can purify air within a circumference area of 500 metre to 750 metre.
“The tower started functioning on January 3. It gives hourly readings of major pollutants — PM2.5 and PM10. It runs for eight hours a day. The air quality index (AQI) readings before switching on the tower and those taken afterwards show a significant improvement. But we need to at least a month’s data to establish its result,” said Ashwani Marwah, general secretary, Traders Association, Lajpat Nagar said.
Initial data shared by Marwah for three days — January 9, 10 and 11 — showed improvement in AQI readings after the machine is switched on. For instance on January 9, before the purifier was switched on the AQI was 229 and after eight hours, it improved to 98. On January 10 and 11, it improved from 427 to 139 and from 211 to 108, respectively.