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In the bid to tackle soaring smog levels in Lahore, the Punjab government is set to implement artificial rain at an estimated cost of Rs350 million, as disclosed by Finance Ministry sources. Anticipated next month, the initiative aligns with Chief Meteorologist Chaudhry Aslam’s recent announcement, underscoring heightened governmental measures against smog.

Recently, the air quality index in Lahore, specifically the PM 2.5 concentration, reached 269, signifying a very unhealthy level, according to IQ Air. This concentration stands at 43.8 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value.

Cloud seeding, considered the most effective method for artificial rain, involves collaboration with Chinese experts. Punjab’s Interim Information Minister, Amir Mir, confirmed the impending visit of Chinese experts and highlighted the initiative’s experimental nature, aimed at addressing current environmental challenges.

Artificial rain, synonymous with cloud seeding, employs a weather modification technique by introducing chemicals into clouds from aircraft, fostering raindrop or snowflake formation. Particularly relevant is the success of the Pakistan Meteorological Department in past artificial rain tests.

Lahore and much of Punjab grapple with severe smog, earning the city a reputation as a “poisonous gas chamber.” The persistent air quality issues, placing Lahore in the top polluted cities globally, prompt urgent actions. Reports from the Environmental Protection Agency reveal various contributors, such as nocturnal operation of furnaces using sub-standard fuels and inadequate campaigns against smoky vehicles.

South Asian countries, undergoing rapid industrialization and population growth, face distinct challenges like solid fuel combustion, human cremation, and burning agricultural waste. These factors, unique to the region, contribute significantly to the escalating air pollution crisis.

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