In news: Recently, The Supreme Court gave three months’ time to the Centre and the Delhi government for the pilot project of setting up a ‘smog tower to deal with the problem of Air pollution’ at Connaught Place.
Major reasons for the Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR Region:
- Vehicular pollution due to the high number of internal combustion engine (ICE)-vehicles.
- The burning of agricultural residues on farms in nearby states.
- Construction dust from incomplete infrastructure project.
- The arrival of dust-laden air from the Middle East and Afghanistan which creates a temperature inversion (cold air on top while hot air is near the ground).
- Relatively less days of rainfall by the South-West Monsoon.
- Smog towers are structures designed to work as large-scale air purifiers.
- They are usually fitted with multiple layers of air filters, which clean the air of pollutants as it passes through them.
- China, which has been battling air pollution for a few years, has two smog towers — in its capital Beijing and in a northern city called Xi’an.
- The World Intellectual Property Organisation has notified that A City Cleaner developed by the Kurin System is the world’s largest as well as the strongest air purifier.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO):
- WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation.
- It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations with 192 member states.
- Its mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international IP system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.
Intellectual property (IP):
- IP refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
- Types of intellectual property: Copyrights, Patients, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications and Trade Secrets.
Various technologies which could be used to deal with air pollution.
- A City Cleaner by the Kurin System.
- Hooded stoves with chimneys vent pollutants outdoors.
- Passive solar heating and cooling techniques.
- WAYU (Wind Augmentation PurifYing Unit):
- Air pollution control device WAYU (Wind Augmentation PurifYing Unit) for traffic junctions at ITO intersection.
- WAYU is developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) as a part of Technology Development Project being funded by Department of Science and Technology.
- It has the capacity to purify air in an area of 500-meter square.
Recommendations of the high-level committee to examine the feasibility of using technology like smog towers and smog guns to combat air pollution.
- Painting roads with photocatalytic coating to clean air:
- Photocatalytic paints contain titanium dioxide [TiO2] which acts as a catalyst when exposed to UV rays and removes atmospheric pollutants.
- The catalyst converts the pollutants into other species.
- Issues: The nano materials may result in production of other undesirable species such as nitrous acid and formaldehyde which will have adverse health impacts.
- Using anti-smog guns at construction sites to reduce dust pollution.
- Anti-smog gun is a device that sprays nebulised water droplets into the air through high pressure propellers, which help particles to settle down.
- It may be effective in controlling localised dust during the period of application and more suitable to high dust emission zones such as large construction sites
- Setting up of a 20 metre-high ‘smog tower’ with air purifiers.
- 65% reduction in pollution can be achieved on an average up to 700 metres from the tower.
- It is expected to influence air quality of more than 1 km in the downwind direction, according to officials.
- Issues: Smog towers, as per the current knowledge and experience, may not provide a viable solution to improve air quality on a large scale.
- Using wireless sensors Network (WSN) for monitoring pollution.
- WSN may be used as an indicative monitoring tool for a few activities like mining, large construction sites, to supplement air quality data and report to regulator for conducting further investigation.
- Oxy furnace
- Oxy furnace uses only oxygen as fuel instead of atmospheric air (which contains nitrogen), thus reducing the production of NOx by about 90% in industries.
- Issues: NOx is mostly released in urban centres from vehicles and not industries.
- LiDAR or Light Detection and Ranging:
- It is a high-end application of LASER-based technology for monitoring pollution.
- This technology may be adopted for vertical monitoring at a few places to track transport of pollutants at higher altitudes.