Dr Harsh Vardhan
Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest & Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurates the air pollution control device WAYU — Wind Augmentation and Purifying Unit — at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, ITO Intersection, New Delhi, on September 25, 2018.Press Information Bureau

India on Wednesday, September 26, launched a new device that can keep 500 sq m of air clean, and Delhi is expected to be the first to experience its cleaning effects.

Specimens of the device will be installed on a pilot basis in Delhi, where air pollution has negatively impacted the quality of life to quite an extent over the past few years.

The device — called Wind Augmentation PurifYing Unit or WAYU for short — is believed to utilise 0.5 kWh of energy over 10 hours of functioning, and has a monthly maintenance cost of Rs 1,500.

What is WAYU?

According to an official statement from the Union Ministry of Earth Science, WAYU is a device "developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) as a part of Technology Development Project being funded by Department of Science and Technology."

Union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the device on Monday for use at "traffic junctions at ITO intersection and Mukarba Chowk in Delhi."

He was quoted as saying in the statement: "We are in the process of developing a bigger version of WAYU which can purify the air in an area of 10,000 sq m and also the designs of future WAYU devices will have even better aesthetics and can be deployed in bus shelters etc."

Where, when and how?

The ministry in its statement said: "By October 15, the ministry plans to install 54 more WAYU devices at various traffic intersections across Delhi."

This is especially good news for the national capital, which has – after a protracted battle with air pollution – only recently managed to rein the menace to some extent.

WAYU is expected to provide even more relief to Delhiites. According to the ministry statement, it "works on two principles mainly: Wind generation for dilution of air pollutants and Active Pollutants removal."

It reportedly had "filters for particulate matter removal and activated carbon (charcoal) and UV lamps for poisonous gases removal such as VOCs and Carbon Monoxide."

The device also "has one fan and filter for sucking and removing particulate matter." It also incorporates two ultraviolet lamps and 500 g of activated carbon charcoal coated with special chemical titanium dioxide.