In a bid to combat the ongoing air pollution crisis in Delhi and its neighboring regions, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has unveiled a initiative involving "artificial rains" through cloud seeding. This innovative approach aims to mitigate the severe levels of pollutants and dust shrouding the national capital.
IIT Kanpur's dedicated team has diligently worked on creating the ideal condition for artificial rain for over five yeas. Their efforts culminated in successful trials in July, according to the reports. The researchers have also secured essential permissions from regulatory bodies, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to proceed with cloud seeding.
However, the success of artificial rains required a specific meteorological conditions, requiring the presence of moisture-laden clouds and favorable winds. This method is far from an exact science, and its efficacy during pre-winter months or at a larger scale remains uncertain.
Furthermore, the initiative entails navigating a labyrinth of approvals from authorities such as the DGCA, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Special Protection Group responsible for the Prime Minister's security, as flying aircraft over the pollution-stricken capital demands meticulous coordination.
Government collaboration with IIT Kanpur
Delhi's Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, has expressed the city government's intention to explore cloud seeding as part of its winter action plan to combat air pollution. "Experts from IIT-Kanpur also gave a presentation on how artificial rain can be produced. We have requested them to prepare a detailed presentation outlining various facets such as implementation and financial burden. The presentation will be placed before the CM and we will further explore the possibility of implementation of the measures." said Rai
Manindra Agrawal, a professor at IIT Kanpur, spearheading this pioneering project, highlighted that artificial rains could offer temporary respite for up to a week to residents grappling with deteriorating air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR) according to media reports.
As Delhi's air quality recently plummeted to the 'severe plus' category, stringent measures, including stage IV of the graded response action plan, have been enforced. Only CNG, electric, and BS VI-compliant vehicles from other states are allowed to enter Delhi under these restrictions, with exemptions granted solely to essential services, while medium and heavy goods vehicles are banned.