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How Kanpur's Pollution Is Being LoweredThe rising amount of pollution on Earth is something that almost everyone is well aware of. Pollution is something that continues to increase daily and can often remain in an area for years. It can be seen in the Arctic, the oceans, the forests and the most populated cities. In Kanpur, for example, the population is so dense that it has become nearly impossible to keep pollution to a minimum, especially in the winter time. Kanpur sees this pollution as a problem and is seeking out innovative solutions to help lower Kanpur’s pollution.

Health Problems From Pollution

Kanpur is home to 3 million people and contains a hazardous amount of pollution that is gradually killing the city. This can lead to health problems for its citizens as well as create a more difficult environment for the vulnerable population. Kanpur generates 400 tonnes of waste that often contaminates underground water sources, which leads to disease. In 2015, 40,000 patients were seen at the Murari Lal Chest Hospital, but in 2016 this number jumped to 64,000. The people seen are those who are able to afford healthcare, but many are not able to seek out medical help for pollution-related health problems.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recently come up with a solution to help lower Kanpur’s pollution. It’s called cloud seeding, it’s a process that involved a mixture of salt and silver iodide. These two substances are transported and dispersed through flares in an aircraft. Although these chemicals sound harmful, it actually is a very beneficial process that creates artificial rain. Artificial rain can be used in numerous ways, like providing relief during a severe drought, but in the case, it’s used to cleanse the air in a sense, thus reducing pollution.

Important Renewable Energy

Kanpur is working harder to put renewable energy to use. The city plans on ramping up clean energies daily through the use of solar energy. Clean energy is a great way to leave a smaller carbon footprint but have a bigger impact on reducing pollution. This power will be generated through a power grid to be used by the people on a regular basis. This method of reducing pollution is fairly new for those residing in Kanpur. Kanpur’s electric company, Kesco, will be taking the lead on this project with the solar power plants. This energy project will supply energy to 7.44 million homes and also improve employment in the area through the creation of new jobs in the solar energy field.

As we can see, Kanpur is finally taking the initiative when it comes to reducing pollution in the city. Not only is the city providing employment opportunities for its residents but it is also working to protect the environment by implementing a clean energy source. The CPCB is also working hard to create artificial rain to make sure that the air stays clean. These creative solutions are definitely working towards a major overall goal of making sure to help lower Kanpur’s pollution.

Emme Chadwick

Photo: Unsplash

Cloud Seeding
The World Wildlife Fund predicts that in 7 years, two-thirds of the world’s population will face a water shortage. This hypothesis is due to a number of reasons such as higher birth rates and longer lives as a result of improved healthcare, pollution as a result of oil, chemicals, trash disposal and fecal waste, poor management of resources and conflict.

Human Trajectory

Such an outcome is further exasperated by changes in climate, particularly in the form of an increase in the number of droughts and the melting of glacial mountains. If this continues, humanity will face a number of issues. For starters, health will decline and disease susceptibility will increase as more individuals lose access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation.

If these changes occur, then the financial security as individuals will also be affected as people become unable to function properly for work and school. Overall, the efforts of poverty reduction will be for naught if climate change continues to deplete water resources. In order to help combat these effects of climate change, scientists have been working towards enhancing a process called cloud seeding.

Cloud Seeding

Cloud seeding is the process of adding chemicals — like dry ice, silver iodide, etc. — to clouds to increase rainfall. Typically, these chemicals are shot or released into the sky by machines or small jets. Since its discovery in the 1940s, this system has been used to generate snow, and to try to stop hurricanes, or extend monsoon seasons. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the hypothesis for the methodology was confirmed to be true and, thanks to this significant finding, scientists determined a range of potential effects/uses of cloud seeding.

Of these proposals, the potential effect cloud seeding can have on agriculture and the food security problem is one of the most notable. Cloud seeding is believed to support healthy growing seasons as it has the potential to combat droughts by boosting the amount of precipitation in a given area by 5 to 15 percent.

If cloud seeding is implemented, there will be increased harvesting and more food available from a wide variety of crops for the ever-growing human population. The process also has the potential to improve biomes, allow for more fertility and create more farming land and land that could be used to build better homes. Such effects can then indirectly create jobs and contribute to financial security for people living in poverty-stricken countries.

Realistic Expectations

Due to the potential benefits, many developing countries are starting to fund their own cloud seeding program, but without considering the potential drawbacks. Some of the downsides of this technology include the safety of continued exposure to silver iodide and other chemicals, which some studies have reported can cause skin discoloration and be carcinogenic.

Another setback is the economic and technological availability. There are countries like Dubai and China where they have the economic sufficiency but lack the technology and basic geographical set up to manage the precipitation. The amount and length of precipitation is also difficult to control, as can be seen in 2009 Beijing and the 2017 flooding  in Dubai.

The bottom-line is: cloud seeding is uncharted waters. There are variables that need to be taken into consideration before introducing nationwide cloud seeding programs in developing countries, especially in the case of long-term use. However, once addressed, cloud seeding has the potential to bring the seemingly achievable dream of eradicating global poverty a step closer to reality.

– Stephanie Singh
Photo: Flickr