Smog tower to help India’s capital breathe, but experts skeptical | Climate news

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Forty gigantic fans to blow filtered air out in the heart of New Delhi’s chic downtown shopping district.

In another effort to purify New Delhi’s notoriously polluted air, 40 giant fans will push filtered air out into the heart of the Indian capital’s upscale shopping district.

But the $2 million “smog tower” has no shortage of doubters who say it won’t help a city infamous for the dirtiest air in the world.

The 25m tower is intended to filter air within a 1km radius of the chic shops and cafes in Connaught Place.

British colonial-era buildings are hit by a gray-yellow smog every winter.

“Smog is an annual phenomenon due to particulate matter. so we are [trying] to contain this,” said Anwar Ali Khan, who is in charge of the project.

The engineer added that the goal is to remove up to 50 percent of the deadly PM2.5 particles from the air.

The city has said more towers could be built if this experiment works.

In the new effort to purify Delhi’s notoriously polluted air, 40 giant fans will push filtered air out into the heart of the Indian capital [Money Sharma/AFP]

Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal once called the Indian capital a “gas chamber” due to its intense pollution.

Experts say that while smog towers may work, they are only a pinprick against the relentless foe of car and truck fumes, construction waste, industrial emissions and the burning of agricultural stubble that engulfs the city of more than 20 million.

“Installing smog towers has never been and never will be a solution,” Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, told AFP news agency.

“If we really want to tackle pollution, it has to be tackled at the source.”

Dahiya added that the tower will be powered by regular grid electricity, with more than 70 percent of India’s electricity coming from coal.

“So we’re just going to add to the pollution elsewhere in the country.”

China built a 60-meter smog tower in the heavily polluted city of Xian, but the experiment has not spread to other cities.

Delhi’s efforts to halve the number of cars allowed on the city’s roads have not met much success.

“Every government claims they are working to reduce pollution, but we are not seeing the results,” Delhi resident Pradeep Kumar told AFP.

Engineers hope to finish the smog tower by August 15, when India celebrates its Independence Day.

More mega clarifiers are already in the works in Delhi and Bengaluru.

“The goal is not to purify the whole air in Delhi, but to create special zones where people can breathe,” said Khan, the engineer.


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