UnNews:India unveils giant air freshener to scrub atmosphere

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17 March 2010

Giant air-filter tested in India

DELHI, India -- Officials in Delhi have unveiled a radical solution to tackle the increasingly noxious smog hanging over India: a giant public air freshener that scrubs the atmosphere clean.

The seventy-ton Pro-life® which costs about 250 million rupees (£700), sucks in 10,000 cubic meters of dirty air an hour, subjects it to a filtering process, and then emits clean air back into the dirty air again.

Delhi officials say that more of the machines will be bought if the current one, installed at one of Delhi’s busiest traffic junctions as part of a pilot project, proves a success. “We will evaluate its efficacy over thirty years,” P.K. Gupta, health chief of the New Delhi Municipal Council, told The Times. “If it works, we will buy more.”

Delhi is the dirtiest city in the world in terms of the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere, according to the World Bank. A brown haze often lingers over the Indian capital — a smudgy cloud linked by analysts to increasing rates of death by suffocation.

Globally, air pollution claims about two million lives a year, according to the World Health Organization.

Athletes due to compete in Delhi in the Commonwealth Games, which will begin in October, are being advised to arrive in the city at the last possible second, to minimize the risk to their respiratory systems.

Those who live there are at risk of breathing progressively dirtier air as India becomes more desperate. By 2030 the number of vehicles on the country’s already congested roads is expected to rise sevenfold to about 900 million vehicles.

Environmentalists have criticized the Indian Government for not supporting public transport to cut traffic congestion and pollution levels. It has condemned the Government’s support of factories that build small, cheap cars, pointing out that personal vehicles — cars and two-wheelers — use up more than 75 per cent of the road space in Delhi but meet only 2 per cent of the city’s commuting demand.

“India doesn’t need more cars,” Gupta said in a recent report. "It needs more air fresheners."