Monday, 19 Oct, 2009 Offbeat

Air Force to Use Chemicals to Fight Snow


With severe snow in Moscow during winter, the city's mayor decided to face the weather conditions this time, having plans to involve the Russian air force that would cut the amount snowfall in the capital of Russia by one-fifth.

The air force looks forward to use dry ice and silver iodine particles that will intercept storm fronts. The main goal is to cut the amount of snow that covers the streets of Moscow and leads to a large number of accidents. In addition, the new method is much cheaper that the whole process of cleaning city streets from snow.

But there's one serious drawback, the snow that will not fall on the city will eventually invade poor villages and towns located far from Moscow city limits. However, the Moscow's mayor said that the fall of snow in these regions would help crops grow better.

The initial cost of the entire project is estimated at 180 million rubles, which is around $6.1 million. Thus Moscow will be able to save up to 300 million rubles (around $10 million), as the cost of snow removal is much higher, reports USAToday.

Pavel Lyzhkov, a provincial public works official, expressed his worries regarding the project, saying that other towns and villages would require much more money to clean their territories from snow. In addition, he noted that using the chemicals in the sky could have a serious environmental impact. During summer seeding operations made cucumbers turn yellow, said Pavel Lyzhkov.

Alexei Kokorin, a World Wildlife Fund worker said that using silver iodine particles could kill animals. "This technology is still in its infancy - it should be handled with care," he said.

The decision of Moscow's mayor has also been criticized by Boris Nemtsov, an opposition leader and former regional governor, who outlined that changing millennium-old climate could have serious consequences. "This plan will kill Moscow's trees. They need snow to survive the winter. Luzhkov is simply dangerous to the people of Moscow," he said.

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