Power cuts shut air quality monitoring station at Ratnapark

Kathmandu, March 4

The air quality monitoring station in Ratnapark has been non-operational for a week, after power supply was disrupted due to the ongoing reconstruction of Rani Pokhari, informed the Department of Environment.

Senior Divisional Chemist of department Shankar Prasad Poudel said they are trying to restart regular operation by resuming power supply to the station.

“We filed a complaint to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, after which it has sent a letter to the contractor responsible for the reconstruction of Rani Pokhari instructing them to reconnect electrical wires,” Poudel told The Himalayan Times, “We will resume operation again within few days.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment is preparing to inaugurate the Ratnapark-based air quality monitoring station formally on March 14, seven months after the station started running on August 9 last year. Population and Environment Minister Jaya Dev Joshi will inaugurate the station.

The government had resumed air quality monitoring in the Kathmandu Valley by installing a station at Ratnapark, seven years after previous monitoring stations were closed. The station had been measuring particulate matter concentration in the air until last week.

Efforts are on to restart regular operation by resuming power supply

According to the Department of Environment, the station has been sending data regularly to the central sever since it began operation.

The station measures dust particles, especially particulate matter (PM 10) and PM 2.5 in the air, levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, 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 the Nepali government 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.