Govt to set up four more air quality monitoring stations

Kathmandu, July 14

The government is set to launch four more air quality monitoring stations for effective measurement of air pollution in Kathmandu Valley.

With this, there will be a total of nine air quality monitoring stations, as five such stations are already functioning.

According to the Department of Environment, all the four new stations will be operated under the government starting August this year.

Information Officer and Senior Divisional Chemist at the department Shankar Prasad Paudel said, “We are ready for launch of the four new air quality monitoring stations. The operation of new four stations will be started by August this year.”

He said the four new stations would be operated from Tribhuvan University premises in Kirtipur, Birendra Sainik School premises in Bhaktapur, Shankhapark in Kathmandu and Saibu-Bhainsepati Awash in Lalitpur. The Asian Development Bank had provided logistics support to set up those stations, Paudel added.

In August last year, the government had resumed air quality monitoring in Kathmandu Valley by installing one station at Ratnapark, seven years after previous monitoring stations were closed. Since then, the government has been running three such stations, in Ratnapark, Pulchowk and Dhulikhel.

Besides running its own stations, the government had sought access to the US embassy-monitored air quality data. After the government’s request, the embassy had been sharing with the government, air quality data from its stations based at Maharahgunj and Kantipath since the last four months.

According to the department, the stations have been sending data regularly to the central sever based at the department. The stations measure dust particles, especially particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5), levels of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone in the atmosphere.

Although the practice of monitoring levels of air pollution began in Nepal in 2002 with the installation of seven air quality stations in the Valley by the Danish government, all stations were shut down by 2009.

After the stations were handed over to Nepal in 2008, the government entrusted the Environment and Public Health Organisation with managing the stations.

A misunderstanding between the government and the ENPHO led to closure of the stations in 2009. The department is in the process of installing 56 stations throughout the country in the long term.