Pakistan creates first-ever artificial rain to combat smog in Lahore

pakistan noaa-20 viirs satellite image december 16 2023

Pakistan marked a historic moment on Saturday, December 16, 2023, with its first artificial rain experiment in Lahore, aimed at reducing the city’s hazardous smog levels. The result was slight showers in several areas of the city.

This historical event, aided by the United Arab Emirates, involved planes equipped with cloud seeding technology targeting 10 areas of Lahore, notorious for its air pollution challenges.

Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab, Mohsin Naqvi, confirmed the UAE’s involvement in this venture. Over 10 to 12 days, UAE teams and two planes used 48 flares to generate the artificial rain. Naqvi anticipated understanding the rain’s impact on air quality by Saturday night.

The UAE, a pioneer in cloud seeding, often employs this technique to induce rain in its arid regions. The process involves dispersing substances like common salt into clouds, promoting rain formation. This technique is utilized globally, including in the United States, China, and India, proving effective in reducing pollution even with modest rainfall.

Lahore, with a population exceeding 11 million, has been grappling with increasing air pollution. The convergence of diesel fumes, seasonal crop burn-off, and cold temperatures contributes to the formation of dense smog. On the day of the experiment, PM2.5 pollutant levels in Lahore were alarmingly high, far exceeding WHO’s safety thresholds.

The health risks associated with prolonged exposure to such pollution levels are significant, potentially leading to diseases like strokes, heart disease, and lung cancer. Lahore’s fight against smog has seen various efforts with limited success. This first experiment with artificial rain marks a new approach in addressing the city’s persistent air quality issues.


1 Lahore receives first ever artificial rain amid Punjab govt’s efforts to ease smog – Pakistan Observer – December 16, 2023

2 Pakistan uses artificial rain against smog for first time – AFP – December 16, 2023


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