Delhi pollution: Choppers can’t battle smog – because of smog

Delhi pollution: Helicopter carrier Pawan Hans flags ‘low visibility’ in meeting with govt

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Updated: November 14, 2017 8:30 am
New Delhi, Delhi smog, Delhi pollution, smog, Delhi air pollution, Air pollution in Delhi Delhi pollution: NDMC workers sprinkle water on trees in a bid to bring down dust, Monday. (Express Photo/Tashi Tobgyal)

The Delhi government’s hopes that national helicopter carrier Pawan Hans will help sprinkle water to dissipate smog were dashed on Monday after it was told that the helicopters cannot fly in such low visibility — a fallout of the same smog the government hopes to contain. On Monday, Environment Minister Imran Hussain held a meeting with Pawan Hans and some central government departments, including the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, and said the government had decided to work out a standard operating procedure for sprinkling of water through helicopters.

Pawan Hans CMD B P Sharma, however, told The Indian Express, “Right now, with the prevailing smog, it is not possible for the helicopters to carry out operations. We have communicated the same to the Delhi government. There was a meeting regarding this on Monday.”

Last week, Pawan Hans had agreed to help the Delhi government set up procedures to make it possible to aerially sprinkle water over the city so pollutants can settle. The quality of air in Delhi, the NCR and in several north Indian cities has remained in the “severe” and “par severe” category for over a week.

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Apart from visibility, another key obstacle is that a large portion of Delhi is a ‘no-fly zone’, officials said. “Almost half of Delhi falls under the no-fly zone due to high security areas, particularly Lutyens’ Delhi,” an official said.

Asked about these issues, a Delhi government spokesperson said, “There are a few issues and these will be worked out while creating the SOP. All stakeholders are being consulted.”

Earlier, in a letter, Pawan Hans said it has carried out such tasks in the past as well, and suggested setting up a joint group of the government and its own team to work out a proposal.

In October, the AAP government had proposed the idea to the Centre and offered to pay to have water sprinkled over the city to control air pollution in winter. Hussain had asked Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan to take up the matter with the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Vardhan last week said the Centre had asked Delhi to examine whether the method was cost-effective as compared to other, simpler measures. “If the Delhi government thinks sprinkling water from helicopters is the most cost-effective measure, it is free to do so. I call for cost-effective measures since management of air pollution requires sustained actions over a long period of time to be effective,” he had said.

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  1. L
    Nov 16, 2017 at 11:30 am
    Development is for people but not at the cost of peoples life, the result is the present situation in delhi
    1. P
      Nov 16, 2017 at 8:56 am
      "Enviro Air Quality Index" App is good to check Air pollution levels and AQI data from CPCB in Indian cities. Health is Wealth!
      1. M
        Nov 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm
        The NGT zealots banned world cultural event of Sree Sree AOL. Kajariwal is not interested here, because his ambit is much beyond. Delhi is such a small state for a great person like him. During 2015 election, he used to tour with a torn dress, muffler. Now he may not venture out without a mask, cough syrup. Immediate acctions are : First of all ban (for two months) all flights over Delhi and shutdown industries like Thermal power plants that leaves hot exhaust air on top of cold air. The smog in Delhi is due to Temperature Inversion that acts as a cap on the upward movement of air from the layers below. As a result, convection produced by the heating of air from below is limited. In regions where a pronounced low-level inversion is present, convective clouds cannot grow high enough to produce showers. It can trap pollution. Normally when al ude increases, the air temperature will be lower and hence this will enable the hot air at the bottom to go up and cold air to come down.
        1. Guptan Veemboor
          Nov 14, 2017 at 10:21 am
          Carry big vacuum cleaners on trucks, suck the air and pass it through filters and push out the clean air. Such trucks should comb the whole city roads repeatedly. It will clear of all the suspended particles. Something like water sprinkling trucks used in olden days to stop dust from flying on roads. Filters will have to clean periodically.
          1. L
            Nov 16, 2017 at 11:26 am
            Doing like that will take years yet you dont acheive desired results, first industries should be controlled then burning crackers should be avoided
          2. N
            Nov 14, 2017 at 9:53 am
            Some politicians are scratching their heads how to make any money or votes out of this pollution issue...but the pollution is killing their lungs as much s common man. It is time to open the public wallet for scientists (few thousand crores at least), who may still find some solution to years of apathy and b ers.
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