Nepal | September 30, 2020

Details sought of action taken to check air pollution

Himalayan News Service
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Polluted Kathmandu City

A woman covers her face to shield polluted air in Balkhu, Kathmandu on Thursday, September 22, 2016. Nepal ranks 177 among 180 countries in terms of air quality with pollution index of 81.76. Photo: Skanda Gautam

Kathmandu, April 11

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has directed district coordination committees, metropolitan cities and municipalities of Kathmandu Valley to provide it with details of activities being undertaken to guarantee people’s right to live in a clean environment.

“All local levels are requested to explain in writing to the ministry as soon as possible what they have been doing to control pollution and protect human rights in accordance with the constitution and other laws in force while carrying out development activities in their jurisdiction,” read a letter written by Environment Management Section of the ministry yesterday.

The move comes after the National Human Rights Commission asked the ministry to provide it with details of activities being undertaken by local levels to control pollution in Kathmandu Valley.

Although Article 35 of the constitution states that every person shall have the right to live in a clean and healthy environment, people have been deprived of this right.  Kathmandu has been dubbed as the seventh most polluted city in the world, thanks to  environmental pollution. Numbeo recently made public the pollution levels ranking of 290 cities around the world. With pollution index 97.73, Kathmandu featured among the top ten along with  Kabul, Afghanistan (103.92); Accra, Ghana (102.61); Tetovo, Macedonia (98.09); Faridabad, India (96.58); Cairo, Egypt (96.28) and Dhaka, Bangladesh (95.91); Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (95.34); Karachi, Pakistan (95.29) and Ghaziabad, India (95.27).

Numbeo said it included relevant data from World Health Organisation and other institutions for the ranking. The cities were listed on the basis of air pollution and water pollution/accessibility followed by other pollution types. According to the Department of Environment, the particulate matter (PM 2.5) of Ratnapark is 103.5 µg/m³ making Kathmandu one of the unhealthy cities to live in.

PM 2.5 indicates the matter present in the air that are 2.5 microns or below. These particles include dust, coal particles exited from power plants and home heating, car exhaust, and pollen from plants among others.


A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


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