10 Nov 2023

Delhi pollution: How does artificial rainfall occur and how effective will it be in combating pollution? CM Kejriwal ready to spend crores on this mega plan

In response to the escalating pollution levels in the capital, Delhi, the Kejriwal government has formulated an extensive plan. The Delhi government is set to induce artificial rain as a measure to alleviate pollution, and Chief Minister Kejriwal has issued directives to the Chief Secretary for its implementation.

As per the instructions, the Delhi government is slated to present its case in the Supreme Court on the 10th of November. Additionally, CM Kejriwal expressed the government's willingness to allocate substantial funds for this initiative, indicating a readiness to bear the costs amounting to crores of rupees. Furthermore, he emphasized that with assistance from the Central Government, the realization of artificial rain in Delhi could be facilitated.

The Delhi government has outlined a schedule for artificial rain implementation on the 20th and 21st of November. To kickstart the process, the government plans to initiate a pilot study, which is anticipated to involve significant financial investment.

The use of artificial rain, also known as cloud seeding, to address pollution in Delhi is an interesting and innovative approach. Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique where substances like silver iodide or potassium iodide are introduced into clouds to stimulate precipitation. This process can be conducted using airplanes or helicopters to disperse these substances into the clouds.

Success of artificial rain depends on specific meteorological conditions

The success of artificial rain through cloud seeding depends on specific meteorological conditions, such as the presence of moisture-laden clouds and suitable wind patterns. The introduced particles act as nuclei around which water droplets can form, leading to the development of raindrops. The entire process typically takes around half an hour.

Urgency of addressing environmental challenges in Delhi

The Delhi government's consideration of artificial rain as a measure to combat severe pollution levels reflects the urgency of addressing environmental challenges. It's worth noting that cloud seeding has been used in various parts of the world for purposes such as enhancing rainfall in specific areas or alleviating drought conditions.

Delhi govt is working with experts from IIT Kanpur

In this case, the Delhi government is working with experts from IIT Kanpur, and there is an emphasis on using indigenous technology, including developing their own chemical (salt), aircraft, and seeding tools. This approach marks a departure from previous instances where cloud seeding in India involved foreign aircraft, tools, and experts.

Cloud seeding is not a guaranteed solution

The effectiveness of artificial rain in controlling pollution depends on the success of the seeding process. If done properly, it can be effective in reducing pollution levels as rainfall helps clear the air by removing particulate matter. However, it's important to note that cloud seeding is not a guaranteed solution and its success is contingent on various atmospheric factors.

Seeding cannot be done where there are no clouds

Experts say you cannot do seeding where there are no clouds. So first of all you see whether there are clouds or not, if so at what height, what are the characteristics of them and the atmosphere. Then with the help of forecast or measurement, they find out how much water is in the cloud. After this, a special kind of chemical (salt or mixture of salts) is put at suitable places in the clouds. This chemical speeds up the microphysical processes of clouds (i.e. rain particles, snow). After which it falls on the ground in the form of rain.

Overall, the consideration of artificial rain through cloud seeding reflects the ongoing efforts to explore innovative solutions to address environmental challenges, particularly in the context of severe pollution levels in Delhi.

It will be completely indigenous process

This is the first time that IIT Kanpur has developed its own salt i.e. chemical, the aircraft belongs to IIT Kanpur and we have also prepared the seeding tools ourselves. So if it is used in Delhi, it will be completely indigenous.

And as far as its effectiveness is concerned, it depends on the seeding. If seeding is done properly then it will prove to be effective in every respect because when it rains in a large area, pollution is automatically controlled.

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