Kathmandu, January 2
Fresh air quality monitoring data released by Department of Environment show that air pollution levels in Bhaisepati and Bhaktapur have exceeded national air quality standards.
Since the beginning of dry season, air quality monitoring stations in Bhaisepati and Bhaktapur have been recording air pollution levels that exceed national ambient air quality standards.
Senior Divisional Chemist at the department Shankar Prasad Paudel said, “Southern wind enters Kathmandu Valley through Bhaisepati and exists through Bhaktapur. This is why air pollution levels have increased in these areas. Apart from this, brick kilns and vehicular congestion are also responsible for increased air pollution levels.”
In case of Ratnapark, the department said air pollution levels have decreased due to efforts made by Kathmandu Metropolitan City to control dust pollution in the area. Officials said air pollution levels in and around Ratnapark had fallen well below the national standards lately.
The government had resumed air quality monitoring in the Kathmandu Valley by installing a station at Ratnapark in August 2016, seven years after previous monitoring stations were closed. Though air quality monitoring in Nepal began in 2002, no stations were operational since 2009.
After the stations were handed over to the government in 2008, the government entrusted Environment and Public Health Organisation with operating them. However, a misunderstanding between the government and ENPHO led to closure of the stations in 2009.
Currently, the government has been measuring air quality of Kathmandu Valley by setting up stations in Ratnapark, Bhaktapur, Shankha Park, Bhaisepati, Pulchowk and Dhulikhel.
According to Department of Environment, the stations have been sending data regularly to the central sever since they began operation. The stations measure dust particles, especially particulate matter (PM10) and PM 2.5 in the air, levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and ozone in the atmosphere.
According to the Environment Performance Index 2016 that quantifies the environmental performance of state’s policies, Nepal ranks 149th among 180 countries, and 177th in air quality.
A version of this article appears in print on January 03, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.