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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Delhi gets second smog tower at Anand Vihar

Similar one at Connaught Place to be made operational once rains subside

Written by Abhinaya Harigovind | New Delhi |
Updated: September 8, 2021 7:19:21 am
An Aerial view of the Smog Tower near Anand Vihar metro station in New Delhi.

Even before the city’s first large smog tower near Connaught Place begins fully functioning, its twin was inaugurated at Anand Vihar Tuesday.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the nodal agency for the tower at Anand Vihar. Its features are similar to the one at Connaught Place — it can filter around 1,000 cubic metres of air per second and stands at a height of around 24 metres. Air is drawn in from the top, passed through filters, and released at the bottom of the tower through 40 fans installed along the base.

Meanwhile, filters are still being installed in the tower at Connaught Place, which was inaugurated two weeks ago. The fans at the base of the tower had been switched on as part of the inauguration, and were switched on a couple of times after that, a guard at the site said on Tuesday. The fans were not running on Tuesday afternoon.

The fans are of little use without the filters. A Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) official associated with the project said that the supplier had advised against installing filters and operating the tower in the rains, since moist air might damage them. The tower is likely to be operated from September 15 onwards, once the rain ceases, the official said. At the inauguration, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the initial trends from the pilot study to assess the impact of the tower would be available in about a month.

Where the CP smog tower now stands, near the Shivaji Stadium Metro station, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had a nursery. Saplings to be planted elsewhere and potted plants were grown there, and the NDMC is yet to find alternative land for the nursery, an official said. A few years ago, the NDMC had mooted a proposal for a biodiversity park of sorts in the entire area, comprising land adjacent to the nursery as well. “The proposal was to replace the nearby defunct traffic police office, the adjacent night shelter, and the nursery with a biodiversity park. The project remains in the pipeline, but the nursery is now gone,” the official said.

The tower at Anand Vihar was inaugurated by Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, the Minister of State. The two projects were executed by Tata Projects Limited, with NBCC as the project management consultant. The pilot study on the towers is being done by IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay. Both towers were constructed following a Supreme Court order.

A note from the CPCB claimed that the one at Anand Vihar is the first “functional” smog tower.

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