Ktm's pollution monitoring defunct

KATHMANDU: Amid ever increasing rate of pollution in proportionate with the urbanisation, breathing in fresh air is almost out of the question in the Valley. And now, the authorities are not in a condition to warn the Valley denizens even if they are inhaling poisonous gases as the six pollution monitoring stations here have been lying defunct for five months.

The stations were set up at Putali Sadak, Patan, Bhaktapur, Matsegaon , Tribhuvan University and Thamel in 2003 so as to monitor gaseous pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide , carbon monoxide, benzene and the toxic micro pollutants such as lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. But, after functioning well for almost six years, they are not operational since March 1, 2009.

The stations were set up with the financial and technical support from DANIDA.

The pollution data received in the past also show that the air highly exceeded with various pollutants. Average particulate matter having the diameter less than 10 micron for valley in 2003 to 2007 was 121 microgram per cubic metre (m3) which is very unhealthy for human being. “To be healthy air, it should be less than 60 microgram per m3. Particulate matters less than 10 micron could easily reach to lungs and has very bad effect on our health,” says environmentalist Bhushan Tuladhar.

According to the agreement between the government and DANIDA, the government had agreed to pay 30% of the monitoring cost for 2006, 50 % for 2007 and 70% for 2008 and the remaining cost was to be borne by DANIDA. “The stations faced closure after the government could not pay the amount in time,” said Ramesh Sthapit of Ministry of Environment.

Subsequently, the entrusted monitoring agency — Environment and Public Health Organisation — also failed to get Rs 2.5 million of total agreed Rs 4.1 million. “Although we were providing data on a regular basis even due to the financial crunch, the 16-hour load shedding in 2008/09 virtually made our work impossible,” says Tuladhar, who is also chairman of EPHO.

“We apprised the authorities of our plight but no response was given. And finally, the ministry ordered us to stop the work and we followed it,” he added.

Particulate Matter (PM) less than 10 micron for

Kathmandu valley from 2003 to 2008

Year PM 10 (Microgram / m3)

2003/04 134

2004/05 139

2005/06 121

2006/07 115

2007/08 95

Source : Ministry of Environment