Sunday, September 24, 2023

New Delhi smog tower has fans and critics

An attempt at purifying New Delhi’s notoriously polluted air will see 40 giant fans push out filtered air in the heart of the Indian capital’s posh downtown shopping district, reports Tech Xplore. But the $2-million “smog tower” has no shortage of doubters. The 25-metre-high tower is meant to filter air over a one-square-kilometer radius around the swanky shops and cafes in Connaught Place. “Smog is an annual phenomenon because of particulate matter. So we are (trying) to contain this,” said Anwar Ali Khan, the engineer in charge of the project, adding that the objective is to eliminate up to 50% of the most deadly PM2.5 particles from the air. The city has said more towers could be built if this experiment works. Some experts say that while smog towers may work to a degree, they are just a pinprick against a wall of vehicle fumes, construction dust, industrial emissions, and particulate from agricultural stubble burning that engulf the city of more than 20 million people. “Installing smog towers has never been, and will never be a solution,” said Sunil Dahiya, an analyst with the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. “If we really, really want to address pollution, it has to be addressed at the source.” Dahiya added the tower will be powered by regular grid-based electricity, with more than 70% of India’s electricity coming from coal. Engineers intend to complete the tower by Aug. 15, when India celebrates its independence day.

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