Can Dubai’s Proposed Giant Towers Help Combat Delhi’s Toxic Smog?

To clean Delhi’s polluted air, Dubai-based architecture firm, Znera Purposed to Design 100-metres high pollution absorbing towers.
To clean Delhi’s polluted air, Dubai-based architecture firm, Znera Purposed to Design 100-metres high pollution absorbing towers.

Delhi consistently tops in the list of the most polluted cities in the world. Recently, the level of carcinogenic pollutants in Delhi’s air is ten times higher than those in Beijing. According to a research, apart from the fumes and pollutants generated by the cars, diesel electricity generators and coal plants, other pollutants like industrial waste, fireworks, no rain and crop burning in the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana areas also contribute to poor air quality. The drop in the quality of air leads to low visibility and breathability, which is also, refers as “smog season” in Delhi.  

However, a Dubai-based architecture firm- Znera- has come up with a solution to make the city air cleaner. The firm has designed a network of 100-m high towers that would absorb smog from the atmosphere and send clean air into the atmosphere.

Known as The Smog Project, Znera's plan is to develop a grid of towers that have filtration pods at the base, which would capture toxins at the level where people take breaths. The device would also have the propellers at the top, which would circulate the purified air in the structure’s six sides. The target of Znera with this proposal is to produce 3.2 million cubic metres of clean air each day so that the pollution reduces to moderate levels. Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has already been working on this project for many years. Daan had designed the world's largest air purifier in the form of the Smog-Free Tower in Beijing. 

Daan Roosegaarde

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde

After the success of Beijing stint, Daan received several invitations from a number of nations that are going through the same problems. India is one of those countries. After analysing the msog situation in India, Daan introduced India the innovations his team has created over the years.  

Daan Says, "There's a new generation (in India) which is not waiting for permission, or waiting for acceptance. But there's a sort of bottom-up approach to improve life. And that's, I think, incredibly fascinating,"

 He further said, “It’s all about connecting new technology with creative thinking. If you start thinking about that, there is so much you can imagine, so much more you can do.”

He makes an open call for the "people in government, leaders who are willing to make a decision, capital investors, tech companies, or students with new ideas. Let's work together."

Daan Roosegaarde has installed several smog-free towers in Columbia, Poland, Mexico, and the Netherlands. He encourages designers to focus on tackling global problems such as air pollution instead of designing luxury products.


As per the plan of Znera for combating Delhi’s pollution, the project will follow the urban grid of Lutyen’s Delhi and will have a hexagonal grid. The vertical air purifiers would be connected with the sky bridges and are placed at main points in the city node that will create semi-clean air within two kilometres area.

Znera Proposal

Sky bridges will be assembled with Hydrogen Generating Cells to power the smog-sucking towers. Znera states that the construction work could start with a single district rather than building an extensive network to review the success rate of the project.

Delhis toxic smog

According to the architects, the repository of carbon particles captured and collected by the air filters can be used to create products like graphene, fertilizer, ink and can be used in water distillation. Bangalore-based start-up company Graviky Labs has been already producing Air Ink by from the collected carbon particles.

The innovative Smog Project has also been shortlisted for the Experimental Future Project of the Year category at the World Architecture Festival 2018.

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