HealthPakistan

Lahore to Get Another Round of Artificial Rain Amid Smog Crisis

Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province, is facing a severe smog problem that has affected the health and quality of life of its residents. The air quality index (AQI) of the city has reached hazardous levels, forcing the closure of schools, markets, and parks in recent weeks.

To tackle this environmental challenge, the caretaker Punjab government has decided to conduct another spell of artificial rain this month, after the successful experiment of the first-ever artificial rain in the city on December 16, 2023.

Artificial rain, also known as cloud seeding, is a weather modification technique that aims to stimulate precipitation by spraying chemicals or particles into the clouds. The Punjab government has collaborated with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to carry out this innovative project, which requires a small plane, cloud quality, and favorable weather conditions.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi announced the plan for the second artificial rain on Thursday, after meeting with Governor Balighur Rehman at the Governor’s House. The two leaders discussed various public welfare projects in the province, such as improving police stations, facilitation centres, and zoos. They also exchanged views on the issue of smog and its impact on the people and the economy of Punjab.

Governor Rehman appreciated the efforts of the caretaker government to address the smog problem, which he said was extraordinary and required extraordinary measures. He praised the first artificial rain experiment, which resulted in a slight rainfall in 10 percent of Lahore areas, and reduced the AQI from over 300 to 189. He said that the second artificial rain would be employed again this month to further improve the air quality in Lahore.

CM Naqvi said that the artificial rain experiment was made possible with the assistance of the UAE, which provided technical and financial support. He said that at least 48 flares were deployed for cloud seeding, and the monitoring and attentiveness started as early as 9:00 am on the day of the experiment. He expressed his commitment to the success of the artificial rain initiative, which he said was a sustainable and cost-effective solution to the smog problem.

He also urged the public to cooperate with the government and follow the precautionary measures to protect themselves from the harmful effects of smog, such as wearing masks, avoiding outdoor activities, and using public transport. He said that the government was also taking other steps to reduce the sources of smog, such as banning crop burning, enforcing emission standards, and planting more trees.

The artificial rain project has received mixed reactions from the experts and the public. Some have welcomed it as a novel and timely intervention, while others have questioned its effectiveness and side effects. Some have also suggested that the government should focus more on the long-term and structural causes of smog, such as industrial pollution, vehicular emissions, and urban sprawl.

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