The $40,000 vehicle-mounted cannon sprays fine water droplets at extremely high speeds. Its manufacturers say this will flush out deadly airborne pollutants in one of the world’s smoggiest capitals. Delhi’s government tested the cannon this week in Anad Vihar, one of the most polluted parts of the city.
But environmentalists are skeptical.
“This is a temporary local measure, not a long-lasting solution to the problem,” Anumita Roychowdhury of the Center for Science and Environment in Delhi told Arab News. “It will not improve the environment. Instead of looking at temporary measures, the government should focus on a comprehensive action plan for more systematic changes in the city to contain air pollution.”
Since November, pollution in the city of nearly 20 million has worsened. Government officials were forced to close 6,000 schools and banned all but the most essential commercial trucks from entering the city.
Much of New Delhi’s pollution comes from outside the capital. Bordered by large agrarian states, the burning of crop waste engulfs Delhi, the state that hosts the Indian capital, every year in the fall.
On Thursday, the smog inhibited visibility as the city experienced an Air Quality Index of 482. Anything above 400 is categorized as severe.
“This is not a solution to pollution. It’s more tokenism and symbolism than an attempt to attack the source of the problem,” Suni Dahiya of Greenpeace told Arab News.
“The whole concept of the anti-smog gun is that when you have a situation where you have to shut down schools and colleges and other important buildings, then you can use this gun to reduce air pollution,” Sushant Saini of Cloud Tech, the company that manufactures the water cannon, told Arab News. “It is only for instant relief and not a long-term solution.”