India’s first smog tower inaugurated in Delhi

New Delhi, Aug 23 (PTI):
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the “country’s first smog tower” at Connaught Place in Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world, on Monday and said it will prove to be a path-breaking milestone and many such structures can be installed in the capital if the pilot project yields results. “This is the first such smog tower in the country. It’s a new technology. We have imported it from the US. The structure will suck polluted air from above and release clean air from below. It will purify 1,000 cubic metres of air per second,” Kejriwal told reporters.
The smog tower has 40 fans and 5,000 filters developed by experts at the University of Minnesota which also helped design a 100-metre-high smog tower in Xian, China. According to reports, the experimental tower in northern China has brought a noticeable improvement in air quality.
A Delhi government statement said the 24-metre-high smog tower at Connaught Place, one of the biggest commercial centres in the capital, is based on a downdraft air-flow model. Its 40 huge fans will suck air from the top of a special type of canopy structure and release clean air filtered through novel geometry filters, it said. Since it’s a new technology, it is being implemented on an experimental basis. Tata Projects Limited (TPL) built the smog tower with technical support from IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi, which will analyse its data. NBCC India Ltd. is the project management consultant, Kejriwal said. “The experts will analyse the functioning of the smog tower and tell us if it is effective. If it is successful, many such smog towers can be installed across Delhi. If not, we will work on some other technology… I think it will prove to be a path-breaking milestone,” he added. In November 2019, an expert panel estimated that the capital will need 213 such anti-smog towers. “Data analysis will start immediately. The initial trends will be available within a month… I am also excited to know if we succeeded or not,” the chief minister said, adding that a detailed performance report will be ready within two years. Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the smog tower will “operate at full capacity” after the monsoon season.
The chief minister said the concentration of PM2.5 has reduced from around 150 micrograms per cubic metre to 100 g/m and that of PM10 has dipped from around 300 g/m to 150 g/m in the national capital since 2014 due to the efforts made in the last few years. PM2.5 refers to fine particles which penetrate deep into the body and fuel inflammation in the lungs and respiratory tract, leading to the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory problems, including a weak immune system.
The Delhi cabinet had approved the smog tower project in October last year. A two-year pilot study will ascertain the effectiveness of the smog tower. A control room has been set up at the site to monitor its operations, an official said. Another 25-metre-tall smog tower, built by the central government at Anand Vihar, is expected to become operational by August 31. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee is the nodal agency for the smog tower at Connaught Place, while the Central Pollution Control Board is the nodal agency for the one coming up at Anand Vihar.

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