Delhi’s government on Monday (August 23) inaugurated a smog tower to tackle the pollution that engulfs the national capital every year.
Last year Delhi’s 20 million residents, who breathed some of the cleanest air on record in summer months due to the lockdown curbs, battled toxic air in winter, following a sharp increase in farm fire incidents in the neighbouring state of Punjab.
According to IQAir, a Swiss group that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5, said New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020.
The tower, which is about 24 meters high, has been installed in the Connaught Place market area of the city.
In 2020, New Delhi’s average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic meter of air was 84.1, IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Report said, more than double the level of Beijing, which averaged 37.5 during the year, making it the 14th most polluted city in the world.
As the burning of crop stubble peaked, Delhi’s PM2.5 levels averaged 144 micrograms per cubic metre in November and 157 micrograms per cubic metre in December, exceeding the World Health Organisation’s annual exposure guideline by more than 14 times, it said.
(Production: Lisa Giles-Keddie, Natasa Bansagi)