Delhi To Get ₹20 Crore Air Purifying Smog Tower; Is It A Good Idea?

New Delhi: With winter coming in, the Delhi government is ramping up efforts to curb the dreaded air pollution that plagues north India every year.

A Rs 20-crore ‘smog tower’ will be installed at Connaught Place to help reduce the air pollution in the surrounding area, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. It will take 10 months to complete the project. The central government is installing another tower at Anand Vihar. There is a functional one at Lajpat Nagar too.

Do They Work?

After the tower was installed in Lajpat Nagar, experts from TERI, IIT-B had rejected the idea calling it impractical. Globally, few countries like China have installed such towers. Activist and Swechha Founder Vimlendu Jha called it “pseudoscience” and pointed out that lakhs and lakhs of such towers would be required to deal with the pollution in Delhi.

Air towers require closed spaces and are barely effective in just 100 metres surrounding of the towers in the open, Sumit Sharma, Director, Earth Science and Climate Change Division of TERI said.

What’s The Solution?

Environmentalist Jai Dhar Gupta says going to the root of the problem, that is, reducing pollution is the answer. He suggests moving away from fossil fuels and clamping down on crop and biomass burning is required.

Jyoti Pande Lavakare, Co-founder, Care for Air, said if towers are being installed, they are better off in enclosed spaces like hospitals, underground metro stations and indoor stadiums where footfall is high.

Tree Transplatation

The Delhi Cabinet has also approved a tree transplantation policy that will help prevent reduction of green cover in the city. Touted to be a first-of-its-kind policy in India, it will make agencies transplant 80 per cent of the trees affected by their projects to a new location. 

Apart a dedicated panel of government agencies with track record and experience of tree transplantation, citizens will also be involved in the process of monitoring and certification, Kejriwal said.

“Any department requiring removal of a tree for some development work will seek help from any agency on the panel for transplantation,” the Chief Minister said.

“The agency concerned will have to ensure that 80 per cent of the total transplanted trees survive. Payments for transplantation will be made after one year to ensure this, and if less than 80 per cent of the transplanted trees survive, payment will be deducted,” he added.

Under the policy, 10 saplings will be required to be planted in addition to the whole tree being dug up with the root intact and scientifically transplanted at another location instead of being felled.

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