Mumbai's Improved Air Quality Index Delays BMC's Cloud Seeding Plans

Mumbai's Improved Air Quality Index Delays BMC's Cloud Seeding Plans

Unseasonal rainfall in late November last year temporarily improved the city's AQI to the 'good' category.

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Sunday, January 07, 2024, 07:44 PM IST
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Fog engulfs Mumbai's Marine Drive. | Vijay Gohil

Mumbai: A civic official claims that various measures, such as taking stringent actions against construction sites and daily road washing, have improved the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Mumbai. Consequently, the plans of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to conduct cloud seeding are currently delayed, according to civic sources.

Following directives from Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the BMC invited expressions of interest to conduct cloud seeding for reducing air pollution through artificial rain. In December, three Bengaluru-based firms and companies from Navi Mumbai and Karnataka submitted their bids. However, the BMC is yet to make a final decision on the proposal.

'No urgency to carry out cloud seeding experiment'

A senior civic official stated, "Several measures have been implemented in the last two months that have helped maintain the city's AQI in the 'moderate' category. Therefore, there is currently no urgency to carry out the cloud seeding experiment. Additionally, we need to scrutinise the documents, experience, and capabilities of the bidding firms to ensure positive results."

He further added, "As a precautionary measure, we are keeping the option of cloud seeding open, considering the uncertainty of AQI. We will study the project in detail before making a decision." The civic body is also in talks with a Dubai-based company with expertise in cloud seeding, although there has been limited response from the company, according to civic sources. Ashwini Joshi, additional municipal commissioner in charge of the environment department, was not available for comment.

Previous cloud seeding experiment

Unseasonal rainfall in late November last year temporarily improved the city's AQI to the 'good' category. Cloud seeding is a technique aimed at enhancing the probability of rain. The first cloud seeding experiment in 2009 failed to increase water levels in Tansa and Modak Sagar lakes, where an Rs 8 crore experiment was conducted.

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