A new attempt at purifying New Delhi’s air pollution will see 40 giant fans push out filtered air in the heart of the Indian capital.
As chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the country’s first smog tower at Connaught place and termed it a path-breaking milestone.
The tower is located behind the Shivaji Stadium Metro station in Connaught place and stands at the height of 24.2 meters.
The total costing of the project is around Rs20 crores, with NBCC as the project management consultancy and the TATA project limited as the executing agency. Mr Kejriwal termed the tower as experimental, as the pilot study conducted for the new building will pave the way towards constructing more such towers in the future.
The speciality of the tower
Going by the project description, the tower constitutes a pilot study to access the reduction of particulate air pollution in urban areas.
The two-year pilot study will be carried out by two of the best technology institute- IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay.
The institutions will monitor the impact of the tower on PM2.5 and its functioning under different weather conditions.
The results will be out within a month, which will eventually determine the plans.
The tower can filter around 1,000 cubic meters of air per second.
It comprises 5,000 electrostatic filters that can filter out microparticles, including those that constitute smoke. With a total of 40 fans, it will positively impact a 1 km radius from the centre of the tower.
And all the data collection and monitoring will be done by an installed Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.
The critical view of experts
The decision for the establishment of a smoke tower was put forth by the Supreme Court last year, and it took around more than 1.5 years for the Delhi government for its implementation.
However, the concept of smog towers was critically evaluated by some of the experts from the start, who termed it as “a costly quick-fix measure with no scientific evidence to back its efficacy”.
Experts feel that the concept of smog tower may provide immediate relief from air pollution in a minimal area. Still, when it comes to realizing the landmass of the country’s capital with other highly polluted metro cities, one can conclude that the whole idea is not economically feasible on a long term basis.
Santosh Harish, a fellow at the centre for policy research, quoted, “it will be deplorable if other cities decide to follow suit and set of such expensive and ineffective towers”.
He said that there are enormous distractions, but the government should solely focus on enhancing India’s capacity in renewable energy sources and refrain from making the fruitless expenditure.
The concept of smog tower is undoubtedly a revolutionary move by the Delhi government, but the decisions made should be looked upon from all the other aspects, not just from pollution control.
The mega towers are already in the works in Delhi and Bengaluru, but only time can tell these towers’ actual effectiveness and future.