The impact of the air purifiers installed under the Air Care project was carried out by NEERI during the winter of 2020-2021. The difference was calculated by measuring the particulate matter at the inlet and outlet of the purifiers. There are 66 air purifiers installed at eight different locations across the city.
The study required measuring the PM10 and PM2.5 values at different locations at different times, which were then averaged to get to the final figures. “The chemical characterization study results indicate the source of PM10 and PM2.5 at eight locations are mostly exhausts of vehicles and are suspended road dust. At sites like Bakhtawar Chowk, biomass burnings were also found as the source,” said a copy of the report.
Encouraged by the response, NEERI, along with the India Pollution Control Association and GSK, decided to install 48 more air purifiers at other busy junctions in the city. While the project was under GMDA, it was funded by GSK. The pollution purifiers were designed by NEERI and installed by IPCA.
Subhas Yadav, district forest officer said that NEERI is a government institute, and their findings should be taken seriously. However, to better understand the impact of these purifiers, GMDA has proposed the installation of low-cost air quality monitors near the purifiers. “These purifiers will give us data to better understand the impact of project Air Care,” said Yadav.
However, Sachin Panwar, a city-based independent air quality scientist, said: “The study was carried out during morning hours, which doesn’t throw much light on the air quality improvement. During morning hours, the air tends to warm up slowly and the pollutants get dispersed. This is a natural phenomenon and cannot be related to the efficiency of the purifiers. Gurugram is still far away from getting its air cleared up. Also, these air purifiers are installed on the medians and thus the positioning is incorrect.”
Last November, the chief minister had launched the project. The WAYU (Wind Augmentation and Purification Units) air purifiers have been developed by CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and customized to address the rising levels of pollution in the millennium city.