Chest patients to double in thirteen years

Kathmandu, June 6

Dr Ram Narayan Shah, a Pulmonologist at Madhyapur Hospital Bhaktapur checked 20 asthma patients of Asthma out of 60 in 2003 when he started his profession. After 13 years, in 2016, the number of patients has doubled 50 out of 60 patients suffer from chest problems.

He informed that he had no experience of examining Kathmandu Valley based locals before.

“I wonder if all in all, asthma and respiratory patients belong to the Valley these days” he told The Himalayan Times, “It’s all because of air pollution inside the Valley, besides air pollution there is no other cause that hampers locals.”

He said local residents had diseases related to seasonal change and other problems but not chest related problems.

“The rise in respiratory diseases among locals is dangerous and it is all due to air pollution” he added.

According to Nepal Health Research Council five per cent of respiratory hospitalisations in Kathmandu is attributed to air pollution.

Similarly six per cent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 10 per cent of acute respiratory infections and 15 per cent of pneumonia hospitalisations have been recorded.

While Nepal’s national air pollution standard is 40 microgram per cubic metre, the existing data shows that pollution levels in the Valley remains above 200 microgram per cubic metre.

Meanwhile International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development claimed the report of Numbeo was based on perceptions. Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global database, has ranked Kathmandu (score 96.66 out of 100) the third most polluted city in the world after Tetovo (Macedonia) and Cairo (Egypt) in Pollution Index 2016.

“Numbeo prepared a report by 70 visitors answered eight questions based on their perception such as: how satisfied are you with greenery and parks in the city?” Prakash Bhave Senior air quality specialist at ICIMOD said in a programme named ‘Air pollution in Kathmandu Valley: Myth and Truth’ today.

The programme was organised by ICIMOD, Nepal forum of Environmental Journalists, Clean Energy Nepal and Clean Air Network Nepal.

“Kathmandu ranks 261 on a global database of 2,973 cities prepared by WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database 2016” he added.

For that, air pollution samples were taken on February 13, 2014 to February 13, 2015 from NHRC and the then Ministry of Health Nepal.

Although Article 35 of the constitution states that every person shall have the right to live in a clean and healthy environment, Nepali citizens are not even aware of pollution levels in their areas, cities, and the