Valley denizens advised to wear dust mask

Kathmandu, April 4

Nepal Medical Association, a professional organisation of medical and dental doctors, has expressed serious concern about the hazards of dust pollution to the public due to haphazard and unsystematic construction activities in Kathmandu Valley.

A press release issued by the NMA said, “Our attention has been drawn to the serious problems facing human health as a result of dust caused by digging  of roads for laying utility pipes.” It also warned that hospitals in the Valley had been flooded with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients with the rise in the number of people suffering from common cold, bacterial tracheitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, throat allergies and asthma, among others.

“We strongly urge the Government of Nepal and other stakeholders to carry out construction and maintenance work taking into account its impact on public health,” said Dr Lochan Karki, NMA general secretary. It has also appealed to all to cover their mouth with anti-pollution mask to protect themselves from the effects of dust.

Unplanned digging of roads, long delay in repairing roads, haphazard dumping of construction materials, laying of utility pipes of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project, among other things, are responsible for increasing dust pollution in the Valley. Pedestrians and people living in roadside houses have been hit the worst. Debris remaining after back-filling and compaction work is a major source of suspended particulate matter in the air.

The Project Implementation Directorate of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited overseeing the MWSP has deputed over 1,200 workers in 40 places of the Valley simultaneously to dig roads and sidewalks for the drinking water project. The project has been laying pipes along 50km stretch every month and is expected to complete its work by September.