Valley environment turning better

Razen Manandhar

Kathmandu, May 12:

Residents of Kathmandu Valley, rejoice! The air pollution in the valley is literally decreasing, according to reports. Increasing environmental awareness has wrought this pleasant change.

The government’s weekly report states that the air quality of the valley is getting

better, with fewer amounts of dust particles.

At the beginning of the year, air pollution level crossed more than 600 micrograms of particulate matter smaller than 10 micrograms per cubic metre in January. But, last week’s report has recorded 294 micrograms as the highest mark.

Nepal’s ambient air quality standard is 120 micrograms per cubic metres. Kathmandu Valley has six monitoring stations — Putali Sadak, Matsya Gaon, Kirtipur, Bhaktapur, Thamel and Patan Hospital — which continuously record and analyse the data.

In the first week of January, Patan recorded 579, which fell to 191 in the first week of May. Similarly, Thamel’s 481 climbed down to 76, Bhaktapur’s 287 to 87, Kirtipur’s 318 to 55, Matysgaon’s 120 to 33. And Pultali Sadak, that recorded 633 in January now provides no data but the last available, that of March, states it recorded 207 micrograms. Robin Man Shrestha, chief of Urban Environment Section, said the positive change was a result of people’s awareness about the environment and hazards to it. “We are doing OK. But a lot still has to be done to make Kathmandu really pollution-free,” he said.

Bhushan Tuladhar, executive director, Clean Energy Nepal, said on an average the air

pollution had decreased by 6 per cent but there was still scant reason to be happy with the reports of the air quality monitoring.

“The air quality is improving, but we need to acsertain that the Valley conditions are free from danger before concluding that anti-pollution drives are bearing fruit.”

Tuladhar conceded that the fact that the air quality of Bhaktapur had improved by 15 per cent. “The main reason for this is the removal of old-style brick kilns.

It demonstrates that a minor decision of the government on account of public pressure has made a dramatic difference.