New Delhi Gets India's First 'Air Purifier' Ahead of Smog Season
05:17 GMT 23.08.2021 (Updated: 14:42 GMT 25.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Manish Swarup
According to a 2020 report by Swiss pollution monitoring firm IQAir, 35 of the world's 50 most polluted cities are in India.
Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal has inaugurated India's first-ever "smog tower" in the posh Connaught Place (CP) area of the capital. A smog tower is designed as a large "air purifier", which is of the essence for Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in India and the world as whole.
The over 20-metre-tall structure has been set up in order to improve air quality in a radius of around 1 kilometre. It is expected to operate at full capacity after the ongoing monsoon season.
The total cost of the project, funded by Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is $2.7 million, the Hindustan Times reported.
According to Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai, experts will monitor and analyse the impact of the smog tower in the area around it and based on the results, a decision will be made about installing such equipment in other areas of the capital.
Delhi has seen a major fall in its air quality over the past several years. The winter season in India begins after September, bringing along with it heavy smog. The air pollution poses a graver threat to residents of Delhi's smog-affected areas amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with health experts suggesting that the combination of COVID-19 and air pollution could lead to more severe symptoms.
Stubble burning in the states surrounding Delhi during crop cultivation contributes to the air pollution in the Indian capital as well.
As a result, Delhi residents often complain of eye irritation, runny nose, and headaches during the winter months that stretch from mid-October to the end of February.
As per the data released by the Central Pollution Control Board in November, Delhi scored an alarming 452 on the Air Quality Index (AQI), indicating "severe" pollution in the air.
The federal government has also issued an ordinance making pollution a punishable offence with a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to INR 10 million ($135,000).