06:46 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Vehicles ply on a smog enveloped morning during a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, India.

    Delhi Planning Artificial Rains to Tackle its Pollution Mess

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    An official of India’s pollution control authority told Sputnik on condition of anonymity that artificial rain may be used to tackle the near-toxic levels of air pollution in the national capital Delhi.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Delhi is considering cloud seeding technology to counter its pollution mess. The nodal agency for pollution control in India, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur along with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), are making joint efforts to make the ambitious project happen.

    READ MORE: Delhi Considers Restricting Plying of Private Vehicles to Fight Pollution

    Officials in charge of the situation are hopeful that artificial rain will help improve the national capital's air quality. If it happens, it will be the first time ever the technology will be tried in India.  

    "Two years ago, Supreme Court of India had directed the concerned departments to look at options to bring in a permanent solution to the problem of air pollution. One of the ways suggested was cloud seeding. We are not part of the project but we are told that a model project has been commissioned by the CPCB and is funded by the Central Government. We are awaiting more details on it," the PTI quoted a high ranking official of the Delhi government as saying.

    Cloud seeding involves changing the amount and/or type of precipitation that falls from clouds by dispersing substances, mostly salts, into the air. The dispersion is done from aircraft.

    "Artificial rains can be a solution, together with IMD and IIT Kanpur, we are closely looking at this option," CPCB member-secretary Prashant Gargava told the Economic Times. 

    "We are ready from our end to create artificial rains but waiting for conditions like (formation of clouds and wind) to become favorable," said Sachchida Nand Tripathi, a professor at IIT Kanpur.

    IMD is closely watching weather conditions. As of now,  conditions till November 10 are not conducive for artificial rains. Efforts at cloud seeding will begin soon, likely after November 10, Tripathi added.

    According to the World Health Organization, smog kills more than one million Indians every year and Delhi has the worst air of any major city on the planet.


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