Gurugram’s Battle Against Air Pollution: Anti-Smog Gun Shortage Raises Concerns

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    Large construction sites in Gurugram are grappling with a significant shortfall in the deployment of anti-smog guns, a crucial tool in combatting air pollution. According to data from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), only 34% of the required 750 anti-smog guns have been installed, leaving a concerning gap in pollution control efforts.

    Under HSPCB guidelines, construction sites spanning 5,000 to 10,000 square meters should have at least one anti-smog gun in place. Larger sites, ranging from 10,001 to 20,000 square meters, require two guns, while those exceeding 20,000 square meters need four. These guidelines aim to mitigate emissions in a region that consistently experiences toxic air quality levels during the winter months.

    The data underscores the disparity between requirements and actual deployments. Gurugram boasts 15 sites with areas between 10,000 and 15,000 square meters, but only 23 anti-smog guns have been installed out of the required 30. For the 180 sites exceeding 20,000 square meters, just 232 anti-smog guns have been installed, leaving a significant gap of 488 guns. This shortage is a matter of concern as the city braces for anticipated ‘poor’ air quality days.

    Anti-smog guns are cannon-shaped devices designed to disperse a fine mist of water into the air. This artificial mist effectively settles dust, PM2.5 particles, and other pollutants, aiding in air purification efforts. The guns are connected to water tanks, ensuring a continuous water supply, and can be mounted on trucks to cover extensive construction areas.

    Vijay Chaudhary, HSPCB regional officer (Gurgaon south), has issued a stern warning, saying, “We will scrutinize existing data to identify non-compliant sites and urge them to adhere to the guidelines. Failure to do so will result in penalties.” Construction sites will be given a one-week notice before strict punitive actions are taken.

    Presently, Gurugram’s air quality falls within the ‘moderate’ range. However, experts predict a shift to ‘poor’ air quality in the near future. As winter approaches, the city’s air quality typically deteriorates from ‘moderate’ to ‘poor,’ and subsequently to ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ levels due to a combination of local pollutants, waste burning, road dust, and vehicular emissions.

    In November 2019, the Supreme Court directed the central government to install smog towers and anti-smog guns in Delhi-NCR to combat pollution. The Central Pollution Control Board was tasked with overseeing this ambitious initiative. Smog towers, akin to massive air purifiers, have the capacity to purify up to 32 million cubic meters of air daily. Delhi conducted trial runs of anti-smog guns in 2019.

    The battle against smog in Gurugram is far from over. While the installation of anti-smog guns is a pivotal step, it is only one component of a comprehensive solution. The city must adopt a multi-pronged approach, including stricter emissions control, efficient waste management, and public awareness campaigns, to combat this persistent environmental challenge.

    So, what can individuals do to contribute to this smog battle? Staying informed, supporting initiatives to improve air quality, and remaining vigilant about local pollution sources are key actions. Together, collective efforts can clear the air and ensure a healthier future for Gurugram.

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