Govt to begin mobile air pollution monitoring service

Kathmandu, July 26

The Department of Environment plans to introduce mobile air pollution monitoring service in the city within a month. The service would allow the public to contact their municipality or concerned office if they wish to have the air pollution level in their locality measured.

The department informed that works on the project began a month ago, and the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has already offered to provide a van to the department. Should everything go as planned, the service will begin in a month.

“We will begin working on back up, monitoring system installation, and the operation process once we receive the van,” Shankar Prasad Paudel, senior divisional chemist at the department told The Himalayan Times, adding, “It will take at least a month to begin operating the emergency air pollution monitoring van.”

With the works on installing three fixed air quality monitoring stations in Kathmandu and Kavrepalanchowk in full swing, the government started this project especially for places where fixed stations won’t be available.

Director General at the department Ganesh Kumar Shrestha said operation of the mobile van would enable the government to collect nationwide data wherever blacktopped roads exist. “The department is going to make air pollution monitoring system easy, accessible, and reliable based on real-time data through this project,” he said.

The mobile van will monitor dust particle levels and levels of four air pollutant gases, and send the data in real time to the central server at the National Information Technology Centre, and a separate portal at the Department of Environment.

The van will monitor levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and ozone in the air.

A dust particulate monitoring equipment has been provided by the Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project to the department. Kathmandu Metropolitan City informed that although the decision to provide the department a van was made one-and-a-half weeks ago, the department is yet to receive it.

“Various formal processes have to be undertaken before we provide the van, and it could take a few more days,” said Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of the Environment Management Division at KMC.

The department is in the process of installing 56 stations throughout the country with the help of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, and the Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project. According to the Environment Performance Index- 2016 that quantifies the environmental performance of state’s policies, Nepal ranks 149 among 180 countries.