Pollution and fear of the unknown: Why neighbours are worried over the demolition of Noida Supertech twin towers

What if it doesn’t go as planned? That’s the question on everyone’s mind as people living around Supertech Limited’s twin towers gear up for the demolition of the buildings, which is set to take place on 28 August at 2.30 pm

FP Explainers August 25, 2022 13:55:16 IST
Pollution and fear of the unknown: Why neighbours are worried over the demolition of Noida Supertech twin towers

The 40-storey Supertech Twin Towers in Noida will be reduced to rubble in just nine seconds. PTI

After much planning, the 100-metre-tall Supertech’s twin towers in Noida, Uttar Pradesh will come crashing down on 28 August (Sunday).

After multiple delays, the Supreme Court had on 12 August stated that the twin towers would be razed on 28 August at 2.30 pm and in case, weather conditions were not conducive then the apex court has given time until 4 September for the demolition.

It has been reported that the demolition will happen through a controlled explosion using more than 3,500 kilogrammes of explosives.

Even though, officials say that the process is fool-proof, there are several concerns of all the things that could go wrong on D-Day.

Dust and pollution

One of the main concerns that residents and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) have is that of the pollution that will occur owing to the explosion.

The dust cloud that will emerge from the explosion is bound to have lingering effects on the area nearby. The 7,000-odd residents that live near the twin towers have been asked to evacuate their houses on the day, but they fear the long-lasting effects of the dust cloud.

Monika Kapoor, a resident of an adjacent building in Supertech Emerald Court Society, told NDTV, “What will we do about the dust? I am worried about my children. Senior citizens, too, may have severe asthma problems as dust can take some time to settle after the blast.”

Dr Sachchida Nand Tripathi, a senior professor of civil engineering at IIT Kanpur who has done extensive work on air pollution, also believes that pollution levels will climb in the area owing to the demolition. Speaking to The Quint, he said, “Because a large amount of concrete will be blasted, there certainly will be a high concentration for PM10 for a few days. PM 2.5 levels will be impacted, but more PM 10 will be released. Because it is concrete, coarser particles are going to be emitted more.”

He added that the pollution levels will remain high for a week or so.

Rajneesh Sareen, Programme Director, Sustainable Buildings and Habitat Programme, Centre for Science and Environment, was sceptical of the guidelines being laid down for the demolition, saying the demolition is being carried out at too fast a speed.

He explained that this is deconstruction, and is not even happening at a slow pace. “It is happening in a few seconds. The fugitive dust emissions are going to be huge in this,” he added.

What about the debris?

The razing of the two buildings, constructed by Supertech, will leave behind a whopping 42,000 cubic metres of debris.

As per a report in News18, the debris will fill up around the tower and a large part of it would be accommodated in the basement. The remaining debris will then be moved to an isolated location within Noida and will be processed scientifically.

As per reports, it will take Edifice Engineering, the company carrying out the demolition, 90 days to clear the debris and trucks would make 1,300 rounds to carry them.

Structural damage to other buildings

There’s a fear of the unknown amongst the residents living around the twin towers. Some residents fear that the blast will cause damage to glass and other items in their homes.

Rajinder Singh and wife Sarla, who live in a building 12 metres away, told NDTV that they had packed away all their glassware and taken their television and other wall hangings down. “But I am scared. I think my glass items will break.”

However, Edifice Engineering says vibrations from the blast will be minimal and won’t travel beyond 30 metres. “It’s like one-tenth of a magnitude four earthquake,” said Mayur Mehta, project manager for Edifice Engineering.

Other residents are weary of what may happen if big chunks of debris fall on to their houses. They have been quoted as saying that they are taking all precautions and are now simply praying for the best.

There are those then who are also worried that the vibrations of the blast may cause foundational damage to the buildings nearby.

Guidelines for D-Day

Officials have made detailed plans on how the demolition will take place and also issued a to-do checklist for people living nearby.

The 5,000-odd neighbours will be evacuated from their houses on 28 August, hours before the implosion takes place.

Residents have been asked to move along with their pets at 7 am on the day. However, those living in Emerald Court will move a day before, owing to the huge rush in lifts and exit points.

Residents have been asked to seal all their doors and windows along with their air conditioners, exhaust fans and kitchen chimneys.

All electronic items, such as phone chargers, laptops, televisions, will have to be disconnected and de-plugged.
Residents will only be allowed to move back to their homes after authorities inspect the premises and give the required clearance. However, officials have said that most residents would be able to return to their houses starting 5.30 pm on 28 August.

With inputs from agencies

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