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China to use drones to counteract high level of air pollution

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The “Yi Long” drone(image credit rt.com)

By NewsGram Staff Writer

In an attempt to fight the increasing pollution levels, China has started using drones for spying different industrial belts.

The drones have been recently used in Beijing, Shanxi and Hebei provinces to inspect for pollution.

“These are some of the worst affected areas of China, with a high number of coal-fired power stations, steel mills and cement plants”, said  Zhai Qing, the deputy minister of environmental protection.

According to the state-run China Daily newspaper, the drones have helped the ministry resolve over 200 environment linked cases and the ministry is considering more drone inspections in other areas.

“The drones were first introduced in 2012 for spying different industries. Now the ministry has four drones”, said Yang Yipeng, a ministry official.

“You can easily tell from the colour of the smoke – black, purple and brown – that the pollution is over the limit, because if smokestack scrubbers are operating properly, only white smoke is emitted”, Yang said in an interview with Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

“There were too many chimneys like these, and the drones also captured pictures of flames in the open air and that is still only the tip of the iceberg.” he added.

“It was very difficult for the law enforcers to collect evidence of violations when they make inspection trips outside Beijing, because locals easily recognise them and polluting factories swiftly suspend production, leaving few traces,” said Yang.

“The drones, on the contrary, can catch them off guard as few people notice their existence”, he further said.

Greenpeace activist Li Shuo, however, feels that the government should focus on its policy and legal reforms better than spying.

“More monitoring and inspections are no doubt the direction to go. In fact, online emission monitoring systems have already been put in place for key enterprises in many provinces in China. Some data have also been gradually disclosed to the public.

The key here is to ensure these systems actually function and to expand the coverage to other places,” said Li Shuo.

“When the country has put all its effort to win premier Li Keqiang’s recently declared war against pollution, I would rather like to see one that involves less ‘wartime machineries’ but employs more systematic policy and legal reforms,” he added.

The environment ministry has also been thinking of using drones for spraying chemicals to counter the high level of air pollution. According to the plan, the drones will run for 100 hours everyday and it will spray chemicals to remove the smog from the air.

In the past, the drones were mainly used to gather evidence about environmental breaches.

Next Story

IIT Alumni Develops Drones For Spraying Disinfectants in Public Spaces To Prevent Novel Coronavirus

Drones could be the best solution to spray disinfectants and reduce infections, monitor people movement for crowd control, emergency delivery of medicines to those quarantined and elders

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Drones can also be used for temperature check (thermal imaging) and medical delivery of critical supplies. Pixabay

Marut Dronetech, a startup founded by IIT Guwahati alumni, has developed and deployed drones for spraying disinfectant in public spaces to prevent new coronavirus.

To control COVID-19 situation, drones have proved to be of great use as seen in countries like China and South Korea. Marut Dronetech is working with the Telangana government and departments across the state to deploy drones for public safety applications, IIT Guwahati said in a statement on Thursday.

Karimnagar Municipal Corporation in Telangana recently deployed customised drones of Marut Drones for spraying disinfectants in Mukarampur area of Karimnagar where 10 Indonesians and one local had tested positive for COVID-19.

“At a time when countries across the world are submitting to mass lockdowns owing to the ongoing pandemic, drones have emerged as a fresh breath of air, by proving to be an alternative and plausible lifeline for stranded populations advised social-distancing,” said Prem Kumar Vislawath, Co-Founder and CEO of Marut Dronetech.

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Drones could be the best solution to spray disinfectants and reduce infections, monitor people movement for crowd control, emergency delivery of medicines to those quarantined and elders. “The contactless, fast-paced operations will strengthen anti-COVID-19 efforts of the government,” he added.

It is seen that drones disinfect 50 times more area than traditional methods and can keep human operators out of harm, thus proving to be efficient. Marut drones have also developed Public Monitoring and Warning Drones which are fitted with a camera and speaker.

Drones
Marut Dronetech, a startup founded by IIT Guwahati alumni, has developed and deployed drones for spraying disinfectant in public spaces to prevent new coronavirus. Pixabay

These can be used by personnel to monitor places especially with high disease prevalence for crowd gathering and give appropriate instructions, using fitted loudspeakers, to people. Drones can also be used for temperature check (thermal imaging) and medical delivery of critical supplies.

Marut Drones team tested different ways to calibrate airborne infrared cameras to measure body temperature. Results showed that by installing a cotton swab within the field of view of the thermal camera, the camera can get an accurate reading.

ALSO READ: Shortage of Anti-Malarial Drugs Due to Usage in COVID-19 Treatment

The calibrated drone camera can then be used to measure body temperatures while the officer remains at a safe distance away.

During a recent trial, it was observed that a drone covered a distance of 12 kms in 8 minutes, which is 80 times faster than traditional delivery. (IANS)