A smog tower is a structure with numerous layers of filters that catch tiny dust particles(particulate matter), which acts as a large-scale air purifier.
The air is sucked into the tower via fans at the top, processed through filters, and finally discharged near the ground.Carbon nanofibres are a crucial component of the large-scale filters in these towers. The World Air Quality report by Swiss technology company IQAir has named Delhi as the world’s most polluted capital in 2021.
During winter, pollution levels in Delhi rise considerably, reaching roughly ten times the WHO’s recommended levels. This is worrisome as the city’s sources of emissions — construction, industrial, and vehicular pollution are very constant.
Smoke from stubble-burning in northwest states exacerbates the situation, which is exacerbated by unfavourable climatic circumstances such as calm breezes, cold temperatures, and fewer sunny days at the onset of winter.
Functioning of a smog tower
A smog tower would lower 50% of the particulate matter load in an area of 1 kilometre in the wind’s direction, as well as 200 metres along the tower’s sides and against the wind’s direction.
It may also lower particulate matter of 10 micrometres (PM10) by up to 45 percent in an open field in calm weather, and PM2.5 levels by up to 25 percent in a 20-meter radius surrounding the tower.
New ideas to reduce air pollution
Meanwhile, governments must ramp up investments in proven solutions to reduce air pollution. First, policymakers should expand air pollution monitoring in areas with limited or no air quality monitoring and strengthen forecasting capacity across cities. Of the 132 cities in the country that currently don’t meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, 75 do not have a single real-time monitoring station.
For areas with no monitoring infrastructure, alternatives like low-cost air quality monitors in combination with satellite observations should be explored to plug the existing data gaps.
Simultaneously, cities should strengthen their air quality forecasting systems by collaborating with scientific institutions that are transparent about their approach and findings. These forecasts should be used in rolling out preventive measures such as travel restrictions, pausing commercial activities or encouraging working from home, on anticipated high pollution days.
City-level emission inventories must be updated periodically. These data are critical to identify key sources of air pollution and design effective clean air plans as per the local context.
Targeted efforts must be made to improve air quality for urban slum dwellers who have no access to clean cooking energy. Also, household emissions increase during winter, especially when fuel requirement for non-cooking tasks like space heating increases. This increases exposure to indoor air pollution and poses health risks. Hence, policymakers must focus on providing LPG connections to these households along with ensuring sustained usage of LPG as the primary fuel.
Cities should strengthen their enforcement capacity by investing in people and systems that can keep a round-the-clock watch on both egregious and episodic polluters.
PUSA bio-decomposer is a great approach to keep stubble from burning.
The Pusa bio-decomposer, created by scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, may convert crop residue into manure in 15 to 20 days, preventing stubble burning.
In industries and cars, a filter-less retrofit device is used to cut particulate matter at the source.
Breathing roots technology is a nature-based approach for enhancing air filtration and increasing indoor air quality.
To improve capacities to detect, monitor, control, and reduce air pollution hotspots, geospatial technologies and AI will be used.
Appropriate political will and a well-informed populace are required to combat the threat; otherwise, all of the remedies will be ineffective. Greater public disclosure is critical to winning the battle against air pollution. Active citizens are the best watchdogs, which is why pollution targets must be made public every year for them to review and critique at the end of the year.
Every Indian citizen has the fundamental right to clean air to breathe. As a result, when it comes to combating air pollution, human health must take precedence.
How to structure:
- Give a brief introduction of what a smog tower is. Also mention about the new smog tower in Delhi
- Explain the functioning of a smog tower and how it reduces the air pollution. Here, evaluate how much pollution it can reduce
- Suggest other novel ideas, such as urban forestry, electric vehicles etc. Make sure these ideas are different and innovative