With the pollution levels in Delhi showing no sign of improvement, the Centre is planning to induce artificial rain to wash away toxic pollutants from the air, a minister said.
Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said that the Centre will roll out a notification to induce artificial rain over Delhi if the situation gets worse. "Increasing menace of air pollution is a big concern for a developing country like India. The Centre has decided that if the air quality will cross 500 mark then they will ask authorities to induce artificial rain or cloud seeding over the capital. Our scientists and authorities are working round the clock to curb this. All requisite preparation for artificial rains are underway," he was quoted by news agency ANI.
On Tuesday, Delhi remained wrapped under the thick blanket of smog and dust as air quality in scores of areas across the city remained in 'very poor' category.
The overall air quality index was recorded at 352, which falls in the 'very poor' category, according Central Pollution Control Board data.
Authorities, however, said artificial rain would be done this week if the meteorological conditions are suitable.
Cloud seeding is the process of combining different kinds of chemical agents, including silver iodide, dry ice and even common table salt, with existing clouds in an effort to thicken them and increase the chance of rainfall.
Delhi is reeling under the menace of air pollution from the past couple of years. The region faced a major air quality crisis last year when severe pollution level forced shutdown of schools and colleges. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then described the city as a gas chamber.
In 2016, the government tried to explore the possibility of cloud seeding for artificial rain but the plan never worked out.
Last year, the government had proposed the possibility of reducing dust by watering Delhi from a helicopter to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.
(with additional inputs from agencies)