China to Deploy Drones in the “War Against Pollution”

By: | March 26th, 2014

China’s pollution issues are well-documented with some new research finding that air pollution is contributing to lower life expectancies in some of China’s biggest metropolises. The country is under constant pressure and scrutiny to lower its smog levels in cities and authorities have taken new measures to cut down on pollution, such as quotas for coal burning and construction. However, China is still a long way off from cutting down air pollution drastically and, in its next move, the government is looking to drones.

The China Meteorological Administration is to begin testing drones that spray pollutants with chemicals that will freeze them and see them fall to the ground. The intention is to deploy these drones around airports, which have been developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

The new UAVs will use a paragliding wing, unlike the drones we’re accustomed to seeing. This will allow them to carry a greater load (700 kg or 1,543 lb of chemicals), which will make this approach more cost effective.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang spoke of the need to tackle the country’s environmental crisis, declaring a war on pollution. “We will resolutely declare war against pollution as we declared war against poverty,” he said during a speech aired on state TV.

Crucially, the chemicals expelled by these drones will not eradicate the pollutants, meaning they will freeze and fall to ground. The environment will not be completely rid of these pollutants, as Quartz put it, they have “to go somewhere”.

Ma Yongsheng, the CEO of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, has insisted that the drones will be effective and can be used for other means such as disaster/emergency relief or surveying.

Jonathan Keane

Irish journalist writing on business, tech and engineering.


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