Filtration Towers Proposed to Deal With Delhi Air Pollution
A Dubai-based architecture firm named Znera has unveiled a proposal entitled “The Smog Project.” The project outlines a plan to clean the air in Delhi using a series of filtration towers.
The air pollution in Delhi, India’s capital, has long been acknowledged as a problem, although only recently has it reached a new level of severity- last year, the air quality led the government to close schools, request that school-age children remain indoors, pause civil construction projects, and design a partial ban on private car use.
In addition to logistical concerns involving visibility, medical experts and journalists were quick to point out the array of damaging health effects caused by severe air pollution. Short-term reports indicated an increase in chest pain, burning eyes and breathlessness, while the World Health Organization cited long-term risks including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases.
Research has found that breathing in Delhi air is equivalent to smoking an estimated 44 cigarettes per day. According to the World Health Organization, anything over 25 on the US embassy air quality index is considered unsafe- air quality readings in Delhi have reached over 1,000. Ambient air pollution was estimated to have caused 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2016, with research finding that children and seniors are at an increased risk from exposure.
Znera’s “Smog Project” aims to remove pollutants, specifically particulate matter, from the air through a system of towers spread around the city. The proposal lays out a network of 330 foot towers which run on energy produced by solar-powered hydrogen fuel cells. According to Znera, each tower would be able to purify over 3.2 million cubic meters of clean air each day. Furthermore, architects say that the carbon particles captured in the air filters could be repurposed to create ink, concrete and fertilizer.
The project is currently shortlisted for the Experimental Category of the World Architecture Festival’s Future Projects, for “proposals that challenge conventional thinking.”
Najmus Chowdhry, principal architect behind the project, stated that “it’s a conversation starter… The situation at hand is so grave that it requires a top-down scheme.” Chowdhry believes in the feasibility of the proposal and is currently in talks with Copenhagen’s AirLabs, a startup specializing in clean air technology, regarding simulation models.
However, Znera is still in the process of finding development funding, so the project remains purely conceptual at this point. The company has said that they hope to have a working prototype ready within the next few years.