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Fake rain with no effect: smog remains

Published on 2023-12-19 19.46

It's a simple campfire here, but human burning of various kinds is the main cause of bad air.  Photo from Lahore last week.

Pakistan’s generous plan to clean up the air appears to have failed. Despite this weekend’s artificial rainfall, the country’s multi-million cities currently rank high among the world capitals with the most dangerous air.

Lahore and Karachi are the two megacities of Pakistan, each with a population of more than ten million. On Tuesday, particulate matter levels were measured at more than 25 times the limit set by the World Health Organization in Lahore, and nearly 17 times in Karachi.

The high values ​​come despite so-called cloud seeding at the end of last week. This means that planes spread salts 10 to 15 kilometers high, causing condensation to increase until rain falls. Raindrops, in turn, carry particles with them, so that the amounts people inhale are less.

Punjab state leader Mohsin Naqvi described the cloud seeding operation as a gift from the United Arab Emirates, which paid for the flights. But the project seems to have failed.

Particulate matter comes from road traffic tailpipes and industrial emissions, among other things. In South Asia alone, polluted air kills two million people every year.

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