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EXPLAINED | What is artificial rain? How effective is it in dealing with pollution?

The air quality in Delhi and its suburbs continued to remain in the severe category, with smoke from post-harvest paddy straw burning in neighbouring states accounting for one-third of the air pollution in the national capital. Will artificial rain work?

Edited By: Nivedita Dash @Nivedita0503 New Delhi Updated on: November 09, 2023 16:57 IST
Delhi Rains
Image Source : PTI Delhi Rains

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday that the Delhi government is planning to provide artificial rain through 'cloud seeding' this month to deal with air pollution. According to reports, artificial rain can be caused in Delhi and surrounding areas around November 20-21. IIT Kanpur has conducted trials for this and submitted the complete plan to the Delhi government. What is artificial rain? How does rain occur through cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding is a scientific method of changing the weather under which rain is created artificially. During the process of cloud seeding, small aircraft are flown through the clouds, releasing silver iodide, potassium iodide and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide). After this, water drops start accumulating in the clouds, which start falling on the earth in the form of rain. Artificial rain caused by cloud seeding is more intense than normal rain.

More than 50 countries have used this technology

Silver iodide is a chemical around which water particles start accumulating and droplets formed. When these drops become heavy, due to their weight the water drops start falling on the earth, causing rain. Artificial rain has been used in China and Middle East countries for many years. All the countries of the world have been working continuously on cloud seeding since the 1940s. Overall, more than 50 countries have tried the technology of cloud seeding. China has used artificial rain several times to combat pollution.

The Supreme Court has been passing a slew of directions every year to assuage the concerns of people grappling with the problem of air pollution, especially in the months of October and November in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR). It also came down heavily on the AAP-led Delhi government saying that policy like 'odd-even' rule is just antics.


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