New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday directed the central and Delhi governments to work together and install anti-smog towers across the capital to help fight toxic air that engulfs the city each winter.
Reacting to the severe air pollution levels in Delhi this year, the top court also slammed the governments of neighbouring Haryana and Punjab for increase in stubble burning despite the SC’s order prohibiting it.
“Why are people being forced to live in gas chambers? It is better to kill them all in one go,” Justice Arun Mishra said Monday.
The court asked both the central government and the Delhi government to install air-purifier towers across Delhi. It also asked governments in the Delhi-NCR region to submit a plan regarding this within 10 days.
Earlier this month, the apex court had suggested the Narendra Modi government to explore the feasibility of a hydrogen-based Japanese technology as a permanent solution to air pollution in the NCR region and other parts of north India.
What are anti-smog towers?
Giant air purification towers has been seen as a viable solution to clean polluted air in several countries in the recent years. China had, last year, set up the world’s largest air purification tower in the city of Xi’an. According to reports, the 100 metre-high tower was able to make significant improvements to Xi’an’s air quality.
The solar-powered tower sucks in polluted air, which then passes through multiple layers of filters before it is released back into the environment. It can purify air around a 10-kilometre radius. The tower was constructed in almost two years.
While anti-smog towers are being built in India too, the technology has not yet been tested in the weather conditions of Delhi yet.
Startups building anti-smog towers
The anti-smog towers being built in India are smaller in size and not ready for immediate use. Researchers at the IIT Delhi and Bombay in collaboration with the University of Minnesota have been working on a project to develop anti-smog towers in Delhi.
These towers would be up to 25 metres in height and purify air around a kilometre-long radius.
According to a PTI report, a Delhi-based start-up called Kurin Systems has also designed a 40-foot-tall air purifier which it claims could provide clean air to 75,000 people living in a three-kilometre radius around it. Its co-founder Pavneet Singh Puri has been quoted as saying that the startup can build 40-feet-high towers over a span of just four months with an expected cost of Rs 2 crore for each tower.
The startup has also filed a patent for its technology and built a model 6-foot-tall tower for it.
Delhi has an area of over 1,400 square kilometres and it would take at least three to four 100-metre-high towers to clean up the entire city’s air during peak pollution days.
Moreover, since the technology has not yet been tested in the weather conditions of Delhi, it may be difficult to guarantee the success of these projects.