Smog covers Kathmandu Valley reducing visibility

Kathmandu, November 28

Kathmandu Valley is covered in smog for the last few days. Meteorological Forecasting Division said the situation was getting worse due to lack of rainfall.

Meteorologist at the MFD Barun Paudel said, “No precipitation has been recorded in Kathmandu Valley in November. Since there is little likelihood of rain for the next few days, the situation is likely to get worse in the days ahead.”  Due to smog, visibility has reduced to 7,000 metres. Visibility of more than 10,000 metres is considered normal.

Especially in city areas people are compelled to live with the dust and smoke produced by constructions, brick factories, reconstruction of houses destroyed by the earthquakes of last year, the ongoing road expansion drive of the government and vehicular pollution.

These have directly impacted the health of denizens in Kathmandu Valley. But except measuring pollution data the government and other institutions have done nothing to control air pollution.

The practice of measuring air pollution began in Nepal in 2002 with the installation of seven air quality stations in the Valley by the Danish government.

The stations measure dust particles, especially particulate matter (PM  10) and PM 2.5 in the air, levels of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide,  nitrogen oxide and ozone in the atmosphere.

According to the Department of Environment, analysers are needed for accurate and comparative analysis of air quality data. However, neither the Ministry of Population and Environment nor the department has any post for statistical analysers.

According to the department, six additional stations will be installed in Khumaltar, Machchhegaun, Teku, Bhaktapur, Chandragiri and Kapan or Maharajgunj.

The department is in the process of installing 56 stations throughout the country with the help of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and 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, and 177 in air quality.

While cities around the world, including neighbouring countries, have taken stringent actions to improve air quality, Nepal has yet to do so. The government had formed a ‘rapid task force’ to controlling air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley recently.