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Artificial Rain: Delhi Government’s Plan for Air Quality Woes in National Capital

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New Delhi: In a bid to combat the severe air quality crisis in the national capital, the Delhi government is considering an unconventional approach—artificial rain. The capital’s air quality index has hovered in the ‘severe’ category for the past seven days, attributed to a combination of crop residue burning in neighboring states and local factors such as vehicular emissions.

To explore this unique solution, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai and Finance Minister Atishi convened a meeting with a team from IIT Kanpur. The proposal for artificial rain, seen as a potential remedy to the air emergency, was discussed during the meeting.

Delhi government considers unique plan to fight air pollution

In response to the situation’s urgency, Gopal Rai has scheduled a meeting with all Delhi ministers at 12:30 pm to address the escalating air pollution crisis.

The government has sought a detailed plan from the IIT team, intending to present it to the Supreme Court on Friday. The court is currently reviewing multiple petitions urging immediate action to tackle the hazardous air conditions in Delhi. If the Supreme Court approves the proposal, the Delhi government will implement the artificial rain plan in collaboration with the central government.

Gopal Rai explained the technical aspects: “The IIT team has said that a minimum of 40 percent cloud cover is necessary to create artificial rain. There is a possibility of cloud cover on November 20-21. They have proposed conducting a pilot study if we get permission to implement this plan.”

Supreme Court hearings

During the Friday hearing in the Supreme Court, the government aims to present the artificial rain proposal for the court’s consideration. Taking a stern stance on the pollution issue, the court has already directed states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan to cease stubble burning immediately.
The court also emphasized the responsibility of the Delhi government, urging them to address the problem of inefficiently operated, polluting buses running at half capacity. The court stressed the need for swift action, declaring that it cannot permit a political battle to unfold amid the “murder of people’s health.”

What is Artificial Rain?

Artificial rain, or cloud seeding, involves dispersing substances like silver iodide into clouds to induce precipitation. In the context of Delhi’s air pollution, this method is proposed to alleviate smog by enhancing rainfall, which can help settle airborne pollutants. By promoting rain, cloud seeding aims to mitigate particulate matter and pollutants in the air, providing temporary relief from the severe air quality issues in the region.
The process, however, is subject to scientific and environmental considerations, with ongoing debates about its efficacy and long-term impact on air quality.

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