Air pollution in Kathmandu valley reaches hazardous level

KATHMANDU: Kathmandu valley denizens are experiencing a record high level of pollution with the air quality indicator reaching hazardous level, on Tuesday.

According to the data obtained from the US Embassy air quality monitor (AQM) placed at Phora Durbar, the PM2.5 measurement at 12:00 pm today was 448.

The air quality index (AQI) between 301 to 500 is categorised as hazardous, and in such condition, it is advised that all should avoid physical activities outdoors while the sensitive groups should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.

PM2.5 is one of the standards to measure air quality which takes stock of concentration of particulate matters with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres in the environment that can penetrate deep into the lungs even when one is wearing facial masks. These particulate matters mostly come from smoke emitted by vehicles and factories.

The AQI on Monday steadily climbed towards the hazardous level with it peaking at 606 AQI at 11:00 pm last night. The Phora Durbar AQM recorded the air quality in Kathmandu valley hovering above 500 from 9:00 pm yesterday to 5:00 am today morning.

The hazardous condition of air in Kathmandu valley is likely to increase health-related risks among various groups amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Kathmandu remains the only district in the country that has over 500 active cases.