Delhi Pollution: AAP Government Wants Choppers To Sprinkle Water Over Delhi To Fight Smog

The National Green Tribunal had last year, while pulling up officials for not taking preventive measures to keep the city's ambient air clean, wondered why helicopters were not used to create artificial rain to control dust pollution.

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Delhi Pollution: AAP Government Wants Choppers To Sprinkle Water Over Delhi To Fight Smog

Arvind Kejriwal government has proposed aerial water sprinkling to deal with smog this winter


NEW DELHI:  Staring at a spike in air pollution this winter again, the Arvind Kejriwal government today asked the centre to use choppers for aerial water sprinkling in the national capital to settle the dust particles.

In a letter to Union Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to seek his support for the plan, Delhi Minister Imran Hussain said the state government would bear the expenses from its air ambience fund.

Over the past week, air quality in Delhi breached the "very poor" and "severe" mark after Diwali despite a ban on sale of fire crackers in and around Delhi by the Supreme Court.

A graded response plan, formalised after the court's nudge last year, is already in place, effective from last week. This action plan enables the court-mandated pollution control body to order steps to be taken to check air pollution during winters including sprinkling of water on road stretches that generate large amount of dust and reducing motor vehicles on the capital's roads.

"In view of the continuous poor air quality in Delhi, it is requested that your good office may kindly propose to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, to carry out an exercise to sprinkle water aerially through helicopter/aircraft to settle particulate matters in Delhi," Mr Hussain, who holds the environment portfolio in the city government said.

"I hope innovative positive responses by GoI (Government of India) and GDCTD (Delhi government) can definitely help in protecting the health of residents," he added.

It is not clear where the idea of hiring choppers has come from.

But at one hearing of the National Green Tribunal in November last year, this idea was floated by the green court's chief Justice Swatanter Kumar when he took officials to task for not taking enough steps.

"Why can't you use helicopters to create artificial rain to control dust pollution. Are they only meant to carry your officials," a bench led by Justice Kumar had asked after smog covered Delhi for more than a week, with millions complaining about eyes burning and a persistent cough.

There has been no official word to indicate if aviation companies in India already had a modified aircraft or chopper to sprinkle water.

The Indian Air Force has used advanced Mi-17 medium-lift choppers to carry water in underslung buckets in recent years but these were designed to douse forest fires, not sprinkle water over a large area.

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