AQI in New Delhi touches 999 in a few areas on Sunday. The air quality in neighbouring Ghaziabad (410), Gurugram (441), Noida (436), Greater Noida (467), and Faridabad (461) also reported hazardous air quality.
Amidst the persistent air pollution crisis in Delhi and its neighboring areas, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has introduced a quick but temporary remedy – the implementation of “artificial rains.” This innovative approach, while providing temporary relief, offers a potential solution to alleviate the toxic air quality that has engulfed the National Capital Region (NCR).
According to Manindra Agrawal, a distinguished professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kanpur, the introduction of artificial rain can offer respite for up to a week to the inhabitants of the NCR who are yearning for a breath of fresh air.
After more than five years of research and experimentation, IIT Kanpur has successfully conducted trials for artificial rain, making it ready for deployment. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has granted approval for cloud seeding, a crucial component of the artificial rain process.
However, there are certain conditions that must be met before artificial rain can be initiated. As Professor Agrawal explains, suitable meteorological conditions, including the presence of clouds with adequate moisture and wind patterns, are essential prerequisites. Additionally, securing approvals from various government authorities, such as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Special Protection Group (SPG), is crucial to facilitate flights over the capital.
IIT Kanpur’s journey into artificial rain technology began in 2018 and has advanced to a stage where it can offer its expertise to help Delhi combat its air pollution crisis. The institute conducted initial trials in Kanpur, where a mixture of salt was sprayed into moisture-laden clouds to induce rain by condensing smaller particles. These trials yielded positive results, with precipitation occurring in most instances.
In July of this year, IIT Kanpur resumed trials after receiving approval from the DGCA to modify the wings of one of its Cessna planes to accommodate cloud seeding equipment. The latest trials focused on refining cloud seeding attachments for the Cessna aircraft.
Meanwhile, hospitals in the National Capital Region have observed a surge in patients reporting respiratory issues due to the hazardous air quality. Dr. Randeep Guleria, Chairman of the Institute of Internal Medicine & Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Medanta, highlighted the growing number of patients seeking treatment for breathing problems, underlining the urgency of addressing the
air pollution crisis in the region.