An estimation in 2019 stated that the dust blown in by the winds accounted for approximately 21.5 per cent of all pollution in Delhi.

Public Spaces 

  • All road-owning agencies have been directed to fill potholes and start mechanical sweeping of roads.
  • Greening of 32 stretches of PWD Roads began in May 2019. 
  • The PWD department also sprinkles water on trees, roads, and construction sites to combat dust pollution. 150 tankers were being deployed for the purpose in Nov 2020.

The first smog tower was inaugurated on 30th August 2021 by CM Arvind Kejriwal on an experimental basis and works to purify the air within a 1 km radius. Costing 20 crores, it is located at Connaught Place and has been installed by Tata Projects Ltd in collaboration with IIT Mumbai and an American University.

Aaj Tak’s report on how the Smog Tower is expected to reduce pollution in Delhi

Primary results of the first smog tower released in Oct 2021 show an 80% reduction in pollution.

“With smog tower, air pollution levels have been improved in the area as much as 50-70% compared to outer air pollution. Operational hour of the tower is around 24 hrs. However, due to heating, we take 3-4 hrs break.” – Mohsin, operator of a smog tower at Connaught Place

(Source: Tweet by AamAadmiParty)

  • The construction of the 2nd smog tower is in the final stages and is located at Anand Vihar in East Delhi.
  • In Nov 2021, the PWD installed 23 anti-smog guns at key intersections and construction sites across Delhi, with a plan to increase the number as per requirement.

Construction Sites 

  • Delhi Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, met with over 50 private construction agencies on 17 Nov 2021 and released the 14-point guidelines for construction firms to curb dust pollution:
    •  Site periphery to be covered with tin walls of appropriate height to prevent dust from dispersing outside
    • Install Anti-Smog Guns for sites over 20,000 sqm built up area
    • Tarpaulin or green nets to cover construction/waste material
    • Vehicles carrying material should be covered+cleaned and wheels washed
    • Material should be covered while transporting and not fall on road
    • Residue to be compiled in marked spots 
    • Ban on stockpile on roads
    • Ban on uncovered sand, etc
    • No cutting/grinding in open and wet jet to be used
    • Water spraying on unpaved surfaces must
    • Pakki, black top roads to transport materials
    • Record of all generated waste, and recycle the same either on site or at authorised recycling facilities 
    • Safety gear like dust masks for workers involved in loading/unloading mandatory
    • Medical facility for workers must be provided
  • Run by Delhi Government from October 7 to October 29, 2021, the Anti-Dust Campaign including the use of mechanical sweepers, anti-smog guns, and adherence to other 14-point construction dust guidelines (see above) was strictly enforced. 
  • To further bolster the Anti-Dust Campaign, the Delhi government also launched a ‘dust pollution control self-assessment portal’ with 1 Nov being the start date for monitoring through the portal.

“It is difficult to monitor all construction sites manually. We will try to bring all such sites on this web portal. The project proponents have to self-audit their compliance of dust control norms and upload a self-declaration on the portal on a fortnightly basis.” – Gopal Rai, Delhi Environment Minister

However, construction sites were inspected. ₹53.5 lakh fines had been imposed at 165 sites as on 13th Oct 2021 and 92 construction/demolition sites had been ordered to close down as on 6th Nov 2021. 

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OT Editor