A rendering of a smog-filled Delhi with 328 feet-high filter towers. The award-nominated proposal, called 'The Smog Project', is a provocative look at how the city could alleviate its pollution problem. Graphic: Znera Space / R-Code

By Thomas Page
18 September 2018

(CNN) – They look lifted from the pages of science fiction: like industrial monoliths from Blade Runner, or the Martian pods in "War of the Worlds." But these giant towers, looming over the skyline of Delhi, India, land with benevolent intentions.

"The Smog Project," designed by Dubai-based architecture firm Znera Space, is an ambitious proposal to clean the air in one of the world's most pollution-blighted cities.

Delhi's citizens are on the frontlines of a smog crisis. During a particularly bad spell in late 2017, air quality was s poor breathing it was equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day.

Data from the World Health Organization shows Indian cities dominate the top 20 most-polluted cities globally in terms of PM2.5 levels -- atmospheric particles less than 0.0025mm (0.000098 inches) wide, the smallest and most dangerous size of airborne pollution.

Globally, the health implications of air pollution are profound, causing about 4.2 million deaths in 2016 and with links to 3.2 million new diabetes cases annually and impaired cognitive ability, according to recent studies.

The Smog Project is shortlisted for a World Architecture Festival 2018 award in the "Experimental Future Project" category, for "proposals that challenge conventional thinking."

"It's a conversation starter," says Najmus Chowdhry, principal architect for the concept. Chowdhry, raised in Chandigarh, approximately 150 miles north of Delhi, describes the nation's capital as "like a gas chamber," but says politically "everyone is passing the buck." […]

"The situation at hand is so grave that it requires a top-down scheme," Chowdhry adds. [more]

Giant towers proposed to clean Delhi's toxic smog

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