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Smog Tower in Delhi: End Times For Pollution?

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As the season of crop burning approaches, the government of Delhi has set up a smog tower to combat the effects of high pollution. The city is notoriously known for its soaring pollution levels especially in the winter months. The capital is home to one of the world’s most toxic air. Poor management of the situation has had ghastly impacts on people’s health before. It also has consequences on the environment of the city, and moreover their economic well-being.

Apart from the crop burning pollution that comes from neighboring states Punjab and Haryana, vehicular pollution is another reason for the poor air quality. In the past, the government had taken measures like the “odd-even” policy which permitted only certain vehicles on the streets on particular days. The idea was that more people, as a result of not being able to use their own automobiles, would carpool or take public transport to their destinations. The strategy, however, only proved effective in reducing the traffic and did not have much effect on pollution.

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Keeping in mind the objective of combating escalating pollution levels, CM Kejriwal inaugurated India’s first smog tower in Delhi today. The 20 crore tower has been put in place at Baba Kharak Singh Marg in Connaught Place. With a capacity to purify 1,000 cubic metres of air every second, the machine is supposed to be at full capacity this fall. 

More About The Smog Tower

A smog tower is a machine that acts like as a large-scale air purifier. The machine has been constructed by Tata Projects Limited (TPL) with technical support from IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi.

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The start of this project, however, goes as far back as November of 2019. Back then, the Supreme Court had issued a notification to all states in the National Capital Region of Delhi. The notification required them to install smog towers to improve air quality. The court had also validated this with a budget of 36 crores.

However, the efficacy of smog towers since then has been up for debate. In a paper published by the MDPI in July of 2020, the authors had this to say:

Can we vacuum our air pollution problem using smog towers? The short answer is “no”. 

With no boundaries, it is unscientific to assume that one can trap air, clean it, and release it into the same atmosphere simultaneously.

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Further, smog towers reduce the responsibility of the people to do their part to help reduce pollution. The proposed solution will lead to an inevitable problem – industries and individuals will continue to create pollution and governments will use taxpayer money to set up new smog towers. 

Dealing With Pollution, Hands-On

To some extent, smog towers are to pollution what band-aids are to bullet holes. A temporary solution that can do more harm than good. A solution that might be truly effective in improving the infrastructure and resources of our pollution statutory body -CPCB. Holding the responsible parties accountable is the principle way to fix this issue. With an improved branch of pollution control, we would be able to cut pollution off right from the source- whether it be farmers burning crops or industries releasing untreated gases in the atmosphere, or individuals with past-due pollution checks. 

 

Read more news updates here.

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