Air pollution levels in Ratnapark have crossed national standards, says DoE

Kathmandu, January 5

The government has repaired the Ratnapark-based air quality monitoring station that had stopped sending pollution data to the central server.

With the station resuming operation, Department of Environment said that pollution levels in Ratnapark area had exceeded national standards.

Senior Divisional Chemist at the department Shankar Prasad Paudel said air pollution levels in Ratnapark and other stations in Kathmandu Valley had exceeded national standards.  “Dry season, dust, vehicles and brick kilns, among others, contribute to air pollution in the Valley,” he said.

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 Environment and Public Health Organisation was entrusted 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 the 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.