Coming up: Fog fountains to water down air pollution in Chandigarh - Hindustan Times
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Coming up: Fog fountains to water down air pollution in Chandigarh

By, Chandigarh
Nov 20, 2023 08:28 AM IST

Chandigarh MC has shortlisted Sector 17 ISBT chowk, Sectors 18/19/20/21 chowk and Sectors 27/28/29/30 chowk, all on Udyog Marg, for the project

Alarmed by the soaring air pollution in Chandigarh, especially post Diwali, the Chandigarh municipal corporation has decided to set up fog fountains at three major roundabouts under its jurisdiction.

Member secretary of Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee and chief conservator of forests TC Nautiyal explained, “Roundabouts are places with high traffic volume, where traffic is slow and emissions are maximum. (HT Photo)
Member secretary of Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee and chief conservator of forests TC Nautiyal explained, “Roundabouts are places with high traffic volume, where traffic is slow and emissions are maximum. (HT Photo)

The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) has already released 1 crore for the project, which will be initiated with tendering. “We have proposed fog fountains in our fresh proposal under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to improve the air quality of the city,” said MC commissioner Anindita Mitra.

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The shortlisted roundabouts are all on Udyog Path, including the Sector 17 ISBT chowk, Sectors 18/19/20/21 chowk and Sectors 27/28/29/30 chowk.

“Fog fountains will be set up at these roundabouts at a cost of approximately 1 crore to mitigate air pollution due to dust and PM10 particles. MC has just received the funds and the system will be installed after due tendering. The fountains will function throughout the year,” said the MC chief.

How will the new system work

Member secretary of CPCC and chief conservator of forests TC Nautiyal explained, “Roundabouts are places with high traffic volume, where traffic is slow and emissions are maximum. By using fog fountains, we can use atomised water to settle down vehicle emissions and road dust. This is a practical and efficient solution. Once installed, there will be noticeable improvement in air quality of the area around it.”

He added that Delhi had also started installing such fog fountains at crowded places and they had starting showing results.

Solutions needed to tackle road dust

Though the administration is working on various projects to cut down vehicular emissions; road dust, which contributes to the city’s air pollution as much as vehicular emissions, is being ignored, as per CPCC officials.

Road dust is generated while sweeping dry roads and a cloud of dust can also be seen during cleaning by MC vehicles, if driven faster than 10km/h on dry roads. Movement of vehicular traffic, including electric vehicles, also contributes to a large percentage of road dust.

Speaking about this, Nautiyal said MC employees were being sensitised to clean roads in a manner to keep dust from sweeping up into the air. He added that simple solutions like growing shrubs and bushes along the roads can tackle the road dust problem.

Air purification tower in Sector 26 proves to be damp squib

Two years after a 24-metre-tall air purification tower was installed at Transport Area in Sector 26, the project hasn’t met CPCC’s expectations. As such, the city is unlikely to get more such towers in future.

Nautiyal said as per a study, it was seen that the tower was only effective for a few metres close to the tower and didn’t benefit the population at large: “While the tower does partially rid the air of some pollutants like PM2.5 and PM10, it is not done in a large enough radius and scale for it to have a noticeable impact or to be economically viable.”

The project was installed by Pious Air Private Limited without any cost to the Chandigarh administration. The firm is supposed to operate and maintain it for five years. However, as per officials, the electricity bill to run the tower is borne by the UT and runs up to 30,000 per month.

Polluted air is pulled into the inner casing of a mist chamber inside the tower. A number of mist nozzles spray water in the form of mist on polluted air. Due to this, heavy polluted air particles are drained into a water tank through a tube. The purified air is then released into the environment. Originally, five spots were shortlisted to install it, but the Transport Chowk was chosen due to the highest volume of traffic and vehicular emissions at this junction.

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