Thu, 22 Feb, 2024

In Kathmandu, A Breath of Foul Air

By Giriraj Khatri

Photo Courtesy: Tunza Eco-green
The air is filthy brownish gray, and pedestrians, many of them wearing the blue disposable mask, are walking hunching as if through a rainstorm. The motorbikes and scooter riders have all bathed in dust and the building in the vicinity emerges from the haze and looks like centuries old. The local bus passes by sending clouds of dust right in the face of side walkers. With the ongoing road expansion and pipe laying process of Melamchi Drinking Water project, the valley dwellers have been compelled to live in notorious air pollution. When we are evoking the images of mesmerizing mountains with crystal clear sky backdrop, we tend to forget that our capital city is ranked third among the most polluted cities in the world. Kathmandu which is home for 3.5 million people and counting has the most hazardous air to breathe. The air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate and many valley dwellers breathe in air that breach the limit set by World Health Organization (WHO). The dust particles suspended in the air from construction works and vehicular emissions deteriorate the air quality leading to respiratory and other health problems. According to report published by WHO in 2012, 9,000 deaths occur every year because of coronary artery disease and stroke out casting the people dying from road accidents. When major attention has been focused on improving the in-house air quality, only a little or no attention has been taken to control the outdoor air pollution. At present the government has announced to ban the vehicles that are 20 years old and replace small vehicles, this would help to improve the air quality. Along with it, unplanned urbanization must be controlled to stop the people from breathing in dirty air. Wrecking the environment is precisely a wrong way to development. If this trend continues then Kathmandu will not be a suitable place to reside.