An anti-smog mist cannon was unveiled in India earlier this week and authorities are hopeful that this will provide the solution they are looking for to clear the skies above New Delhi. Environmentalists, on the other hand, believe that this is just a temporary fix and will not have much effect in the long run.
The manufacturers say that the anti-smog mist cannon can spray fine water droplets at very high speeds and these droplets can successfully flush down the deadly airborne pollutants. The cannon is shaped like a hair dryer mounted on a flatbed truck. It was tested in Anand Vihar, an area of Delhi’s east bordering an industrial zone that often boasts the dirtiest air.
The US embassy website recently showed the concentrations of PM2.5, the smallest and most harmful particles, at 380. This is above 15 times more than the safe maximum as reported by the World Health Organization. A single cannon costs $31,000 but the government is desperate for a solution.
“If it proves to be successful, then we will roll these out on Delhi’s streets as soon as possible,” Imran Hussain, Delhi’s environment minister, told AFP in Anand Vihar. Manufacturer Cloud Tech said that it can last up to 100 liters of water per minute into the skies and clear 95 percent of airborne pollutants.
Greenpeace was not impressed by this decision from the government and claims the government needs to take steps to eliminate it from the root. “This is definitely not the solution. You can use it occasionally at sensitive locations but the solution to pollution lies in controlling it at the source rather than spraying water on it,” Greenpeace’s Sunil Dahiya told AFP. “The Delhi government should look at more sustainable solutions rather than creating business for a few companies.”
Delhi has struggled with this problem for years, and the situation got so bad in November that doctors declared a public health emergency and schools were shut across the city. Cloud Tech admitted that a single anti-smog mist cannon would not be much help and at least 30 or 40 such cannons would be required. “This is a solution for when you’re helpless,” the company’s Vimal Saini told AFP.
Delhi can not afford to let things go on like this unchecked. Whether they decide to go ahead with the cannons project or take steps to eliminate pollution from the roots, they need to take a step and they need to do it now.