In a groundbreaking development, the distinguished Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has harnessed a potential solution to combat the persistent air pollution crisis in Delhi and its neighboring regions. Their innovative strategy revolves around the concept of “artificial rains” induced via cloud seeding, intended to alleviate the concentration of pollutants and dust in the atmosphere.
This ambitious initiative has been the subject of intensive research and development efforts by IIT Kanpur for over five years, culminating in successful trial runs conducted in the month of July. Notably, the institute has secured essential clearances from government regulatory bodies, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), enabling the practical application of cloud seeding as a pollution mitigation technique.
Nevertheless, it is imperative to acknowledge that the realization of artificial precipitation necessitates specific meteorological conditions, namely the presence of moisture-laden clouds and favorable wind patterns. It is worth emphasizing that cloud seeding remains an evolving scientific endeavor, and its effectiveness during pre-winter months or at a larger scale is yet to be ascertained.
Moreover, executing such an innovative strategy requires a multitude of approvals, encompassing entities such as the DGCA, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Special Protection Group responsible for the safeguarding of the Prime Minister’s security, owing to the necessity of flying aircraft over the beleaguered national capital yearning for fresh and unpolluted air.
In a related development, Delhi’s environment minister, Gopal Rai, unveiled the city government’s intentions to embark on cloud seeding as part of its winter action plan to combat the daunting issue of air pollution. This decision was substantiated with a comprehensive presentation offered by experts from IIT-Kanpur, further exploring the feasibility of artificial precipitation. According to Manindra Agrawal, a prominent figure in this pioneering project and a professor at IIT Kanpur, artificial rains hold the potential to provide momentary respite for the residents of the National Capital Region (NCR), ameliorating their living conditions during periods of aggravated air quality.
Considering the recent escalation of air pollution, which has led to Delhi’s air quality being categorized as ‘severe plus’ for the second time in three days, stringent measures are being enforced under stage IV of the graded response action plan. These measures include restricting the entry of non-compliant vehicles, granting exemptions only to vehicles compliant with CNG, electric, and BS VI standards from other states, and further regulating the movement of medium and heavy goods vehicles not associated with essential services.
The pioneering efforts of IIT-Kanpur symbolize a remarkable stride toward mitigating the persistent issue of air pollution in Delhi, signifying a ray of hope for the residents of the NCR, particularly in combating the health hazards associated withair pollution.