In a groundbreaking move, Pakistan deployed artificial rain for the first time to combat severe smog levels in Lahore, as announced by the provincial government. The initiative involved planes equipped with cloud seeding equipment flying over ten targeted areas in the city, which has been globally ranked as one of the worst for air pollution.
The artificial rain was made possible through the collaboration with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab Mohsin Naqvi expressing gratitude for the “gift.” Teams from the UAE, along with two planes, arrived in Lahore approximately 10 to 12 days ago and used 48 flares for cloud seeding to induce rain. The effectiveness of this method will be assessed in the coming days.
Cloud seeding involves releasing common salt, a mixture of different salts, into clouds, encouraging condensation and leading to rainfall. The UAE has successfully employed this technique to generate rain in its arid regions in the past.
Air pollution in Pakistan, exacerbated by low-grade diesel fumes and crop burn off, has become a significant concern. Lahore, with a population of over 11 million, faces particularly hazardous smog during the winter season. PM2.5 pollutant levels in Lahore were measured at over 66 times the World Health Organization’s danger limits.
The artificial rain initiative comes in response to the escalating air pollution crisis, and experts hope it will contribute to alleviating the hazardous conditions in Lahore. Previous attempts to address air pollution in the city have included measures such as spraying water on roads, implementing weekend shutdowns of schools, factories, and markets. Prolonged exposure to polluted air can lead to various health issues, including strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
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