New Delhi’s chief minister celebrated a “big day” in the “fight for clean air” on Monday, as India’s capital city opened its first ‘smog tower’, seeking to cut harmful particles in the air around the installation.

The installation, erected near the busy shopping area of Connaught Place, consists of 40 giant fans atop a 25-meter tower, which will push through 1,000 cubic meters of air per second, filtering it and halving the number of harmful particles in the surrounding square kilometer, according to engineers behind the project.

बधाई दिल्ली। प्रदूषण के ख़िलाफ़ युद्ध में दिल्ली में देश के पहले स्मॉग टावर की शुरुआत की। अमेरिकी तकनीक से बना ये स्मॉग टावर हवा में प्रदूषण की मात्रा को कम करेगा। पायलट आधार पर शुरू हुए इस प्रोजेक्ट के नतीजे बेहतर रहे तो पूरी दिल्ली में ऐसे और स्मॉग टावर लगाए जाएंगे।

New Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, praised the opening of the ‘smog tower’, which cost $2 million, on Monday, hailing it as “a big day for Delhi in its fight for clean air against pollution.” The Indian official explained that the city would use data from the tower to assess its effectiveness and judge whether building more installations will help combat the city’s air pollution problem.

New Delhi’s air pollution levels regularly rise up to more than 20 times the safe limit, with the city often covered in a thin blanket of smog during the winter months. The cloud of noxious fumes is caused by a mixture of vehicle exhausts, industrial activity, waste and fuel combustion, as well as the burning of crops in certain nearby areas.

Karthik Ganesan, a member of the Indian Council on Energy, Environment and Water, warned the tower is “futile” and “an absolute waste,” suggesting the money would be better spent on targeting the source of the smog, not filtering the air.

Currently, 14 of the world’s 15 most polluted cities are based in India, according to information published by the World Health Organization, with a 2020 study claiming 1.67 million deaths across the country during 2019 could be linked to air pollution.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!