Pedestrians crossing the zebra crossing in the inner circle market area of Connaught Place.
The Delhi government is planning to install a smog tower at Central Park in Connaught Place, and will also issue directions to all construction agencies in the capital to use anti-smog guns. The plan was submitted in an affidavit filed by the Delhi environment department in the Supreme Court Thursday. This comes after the SC directed authorities on November 25 to develop a roadmap on smog towers within 10 days, as Delhi is one of the country’s most polluted cities.
The apex court also sought to know the steps taken by the government on the use and acquisition of anti-smog guns and the outcome of their experiment performed in December 2017. During the experiment on December 2, the government said there was measurable impact on the ambient air quality. It added that use of “anti-smog guns may also be considered on roofs of high-rise buildings to measures its effectiveness in trapping particulate matter during bad air quality days”.
A smog tower is a large vertical structure designed as a large-scale air purifier to reduce air pollution. The anti-smog gun is a cannon-shaped device that sprays atomised water droplets in the air. It is attached to a water tank built on a movable vehicle, which can be taken to various parts of the city.
Based on the estimation of agencies involved, the tower is expected to bring down particulate matter load by 50% in an area of 1 km in the direction of wind. “The (Delhi government) committee is of the view these smog towers may not be useful for the whole city, but they can be useful in creating ‘clean air area’ zones in different parts of the city,” the affidavit states.
Another expert panel, set up by the Centre’s Department of Science and Technology, estimated that 213 towers may be required across Delhi. However, it said setting up multiple towers at this stage is premature and recommended a pilot project.
Both expert panels of the Centre and Delhi government observed that only one such tower is operating in China’s Xi’an city and its effectiveness on the air quality is yet to be established. The tower in Delhi would use different technology than the one in China.
“It has been decided. keeping in mind recommendations of the high-level committee and expert panel, to start with one tower (not a prototype) at a central location in Delhi, Connaught Place. After substantiation of impact of the smog tower... decision on deployment of actual number of towers will be taken,” the affidavit said.
It stated that on receiving the result, “directions will be given to all construction agencies engaged at large construction sites in Delhi to use anti-smog gun... so that dust... can be trapped”.