Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated one of its kind, the first ‘smog tower’ in Delhi. It’s an experiential set-up to purify the air in a 1-km radius around the structure, at a rate of around 1,000 cubic metres of air per second, costing Rs 20 crore.
According to a senior official of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the tower has been built behind the Shivaji Stadium Metro station in Connaught Place and is 24.2 metres in height.
However, technical advisors will conduct a pilot survey to know the tower’s efficiency and measure particulate air pollution reduction in urban areas through ‘air cleaning’. The technical advisors for the project, IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay, will conduct the two-year pilot study, reported The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, right after its inauguration, a round of criticism has come around from the experts. Though smog towers might be an immediate solution for pollution control, experts believe that there is no scientific evidence of its long term efficacy compared to its making cost, the Mint points out.
Santosh Harish, a fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, told PTI, “It will be really unfortunate if other cities decide to follow suit and set up these expensive, ineffective towers. They are an enormous distraction from what should be the governments’ focus: reducing emissions.”
Tanushree Ganguly, programme lead at the Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), said. At the same time, smog towers could seem like an effective solution to air pollution; there is no scientific evidence even on the global scale to prove the same.
Chief minister Kejriwal asserted that this first smog tower would be available as a pilot project. If the results are positive, he will install more smog towers in the national capital.
A 25-metre high smog tower will be functional in Anand Vihar by August 31.
Both the towers will consist of 1200 air filters. Air will be sucked in from the top of the tower, filtered, and released through the fans at the bottom, reports Mint.
Karthik Ganesan from the Council on Energy, Environment and Water told the AFP news agency, “Let’s just be clear that this is futile, an absolute waste.
Now that taxpayers’ money has been spent, let Delhi be the test case for all other Indian cities… to ensure no other city spends on such ideas which we can’t afford.”
In 2018, China also built a 60-metre high tower in Xian; however, the experiment has not spread to other cities yet.
Critics believe that spending on smog towers to clean the air would cost massive public money. Instead, it has been suggested that the money should be spent in knowing the sources of the smog, reported Aljazeera.