Monday December 11, 2023

Lahore likely to get ‘artificial rain’ in fresh bid to combat smog next month

"Govt is mulling over artificial rain to counter prevailing air pollution in provincial capital," says chief weatherman

November 21, 2023
Women walk amid heavy rainfall in Pakistan. — AFP/File
Women walk amid heavy rainfall in Pakistan. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Chief Meteorologist Chaudhry Aslam has said that Lahore is 'likely' to receive artificial rain next month as the government ramps up its efforts to tackle exuberantly high smog levels in the provincial capital.

The chief meteorologist, while speaking to Geo News, said that the government is mulling over the possibility of artificial rain — as a possible mitigating measure against the smog issue. However, he clarified that the artificial rain would not take place between November 28-29.

Aslam's remarks come as the concentration of PM 2.5 — tiny particulate matter — soared to 237 on Tuesday which according to Swiss-based IQ Air, is deemed "very unhealthy".

“PM2.5 concentration in Lahore is currently 37.4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value,” IQ Air website said.

The government has taken several steps to curb smog, including the closure of schools, offices, and markets, as the country’s second-largest city, with a population of 11 million, was repeatedly ranked the world’s most polluted city.

Medics have asked people to wear face masks and stay at home as many complain about breathing problems. The government has also made wearing masks mandatory for a week, starting November 20.

Aslam, in his conversation, also mentioned that for artificial rain, a “special spray” is sprayed on clouds, which results in a downpour that can last for 45 minutes — and sometimes longer.

“In 2001 and 2002, artificial rains also took place in summer and winter seasons as authorities had sprayed on the clouds with the help of the Pakistan Army,” he added.