Smog towers not practical solution to air pollution problem: Delhi pollution control body

Smog towers not practical solution to air pollution problem: Delhi pollution control body

New Delhi, Nov 16 (PTI) Two experimental smog towers in the city have not been effective in reducing air pollution and the operation of these costly giant air purifiers lacks merit, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

In a report submitted to the NGT last week, the pollution control body emphasised that smog towers cannot be a 'practical solution' to the air pollution problem and the two such structures in Delhi should be re-purposed for the 'dissemination of technical information on air pollution control as a museum'.

In the report, DPCC's senior scientist Nandita Moitra said the Rs 25-crore smog tower at Connaught Place, operational for two years, can only mitigate air pollution by up to 17 per cent within a 100-metre radius.

Considering Delhi's vast area of 1,483 square kilometres, the pollution control body said the city would need more than 47,000 such towers, with each costing Rs 25 crore for installation and requiring Rs 15 lakh monthly for operation and maintenance.

Reduction of pollution by just 17 per cent within a 100-metre radius at a capital cost of Rs 25 crore and a recurring cost of Rs 10 to 15 lakh per month is 'not at all justified. It is not even a drop in the ocean', the DPCC report said.

It said both towers were experimental and the results are not at all encouraging to incur the heavy expenditure from public funds.

Sources in the central government said last week that smog towers are not a solution to the air pollution problem in Delhi-NCR and the Centre is not in favour of installing more giant air purifiers.

The two smog towers -- one at Connaught Place under the DPCC and another at Anand Vihar under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) -- were installed in 2021 following the Supreme Court's directions.

The Connaught Place smog tower was temporarily shut down due to 'unilateral' directions issued by DPCC's Ashwani Kumar, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai had claimed earlier.

The Connaught Place smog tower was again made operational last week following directions from the apex court.

According to the CPCB's data, the smog tower at Anand Vihar reduced PM2.5 concentration by up to 17 per cent and PM10 pollution levels by up to 27 per cent in a 100-metre radius during the 2021-22 winter season.

The Delhi government said last year that the Connaught Place smog tower could reduce air pollution by 70 to 80 per cent within a radius of 50 metres and by 15 to 20 per cent up to 300 metres. PTI GVS RC

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