Controlling the weather: $22.5-million project proposed in Vietnam

By Bui Hong Nhung   September 16, 2016 | 03:50 pm PT
Controlling the weather: $22.5-million project proposed in Vietnam
A ditch in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang has been parched for months due to the fierce drought. Photo by VnExpres/Cuu Long
Some scientists are calling the plan to create rain using chemicals "crazy".

A Vietnamese company has submitted a plan on rainfall management to the Prime Minister, asking for the government to pour $22.5 million into the project, Dan Tri News reported Thursday.

The man behind the plan, Phan Dinh Phuong, head of the An Sinh Green Science & Technology Company, said that he came up with the idea after seeing thousands of Vietnam’s rice fields ruined by the worst drought to hit the country in almost a century.

The plan will regulate rainfall to provide water to dry areas and prevent floods in large cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Phuong said that his company intends to spray silver iodide and locally-produced chemicals skywards to form heavy clouds and rain. They will also suck up seawater to create rain out at sea, preventing torrential rains from reaching the mainland.

Phuong has asked for the government to invest VND5 trillion ($22.5 million) to establish 1,000 control stations across the country.

“My plan will work, for sure. However, its effects depend on the funding as one control will have a lot less impact than 100 stations. We have to install stations on a large scale to see the changes.”

Despite his good intentions, many Vietnamese scientists think that Phuong’s plan is unrealistic and wasteful.

Physicist Nguyen Van Khai said: “We can’t implement a crazy plan like this while the country is facing a serious budget deficit. We can’t prevent drought so we should take advantage of what Mother Nature gives us to survive.”

Dr. Chau Ngoc Diep from Vietnam’s Academy of Science and Technology shared the same opinion. “I don’t know where they will buy the equipment and facilities, or how these gadgets are created and operate. The scheme is too adventurous and risky.”

The Vietnamese government has assigned seven ministries to work on the plan, but no official announcement has been made so far.

Related news:

Drought and salinity rock Vietnam's economy in first half of 2016

Heavy rains turn Saigon airport to seaport

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