Noida: Ever since its inception, residents of Noida have raised doubts about the first-ever smog tower of the city. Uttar Pradesh’s first 20-meter tall anti-smog tower became operational on 17th November 2021 on Delhi Noida Border. The tower has given rise to some intense debate in the community.
On November 24, 2021 morning, a number of residents went to the area near the installed smog tower to check for themselves if the tower is making a difference to the air quality in its vicinity. The areas they covered included Film city, BHEL office, and DND border. The residents found out that the air quality was still very poor as their AQI meters registered a very high number. The AQI right in front of the smog tower was 353 reflecting a very poor quality of air.
Disappointed by the results, the activist shared a tweet,
No improvement in Air!— Vikrant Tongad Environmentalist (@vikranttongad) November 24, 2021
This morning we took some readings near the Smog tower through a portable monitoring device. Prima facie,we found that there is no improvement in the air. @BHEL_India & @noida_authority should clarify that what r the benefits to the public from this tower? pic.twitter.com/AMy0AAnjIU
Residents are pointing that even after spending 4 crores the tower is not making any difference, even to its immediate surroundings.
According to aqicn.org, the AQI of Noida on Friday at 3:00 am in Sector 62 was 188 which is categorized as unhealthy. In Sector 116, the situation was no better, with AQI meter reading 192. In Sector 1 and Sector 125, the AQI was 184 and 175 respectively. In Knowledge Park III and Knowledge park V, the AQI is 164, 182 respectively, which is categorized as unhealthy.
As per Noida Authority, the Smog tower will cover an area of one square kilometre and help mitigate air pollution during the winter season. 40 fans and 10,000 filters were installed in the tower in Noida. The height of the tower is 20 metres. The anti-smog tower is designed to work at a filtration rate (the capacity of the tower to clean air per cubic metre) of 80,000 cubic metres per hour.
Tongad says, "We went to the Apeejay School, Film city and near DND toll tax. With the help of a portable monitoring device, we found that there is no improvement in the air quality. The results are shocking, all the nearby areas are categorised as hazardous."
He adds, "It was a waste of money. The cost of the tower is 4 crores and the maintenance of 37 lakhs is very costly, and most importantly it is not a proven technology yet. They built this tower on a 400-meter green belt. Authority should have spent this money on waste management, dust pollution, among other such steps to stop the pollution in Noida. I request the community to plant more trees in their area. It will also give benefits to improve the air quality."
Rajiva Singh says, "This is a big question posed to the authority. If the air quality is not improving in the nearby area after installing smog tower, what will be the next step taken by the authority in its effort to curtail the pollution."
Nisha Rai, a resident of Sector 77 says, "The air quality situation is alarming. After installing the smog tower the authority has not done much else to curb the pollution levels. Today morning I tried to click the picture of a bird with a good quality zoom lens but still, I could not get a sharp shot owing to the smog in the air."