Kathmandu, October 5
If everything goes according to plan, the government will operate 15 air quality monitoring stations across the country by the end of the current fiscal.
The Department of Environment had revived the air quality monitoring process in Kathmandu valley after establishing a station in Ratnapark. The station resumed operation from August 9 this year.
According to the department, the country currently has three monitoring stations — one each in Ratnapark of Kathmandu, Bhairahawa of Rupandehi and Sauraha of Chitwan — whereas another station in Ichchhyakamana of Chitwan is not in operation.
Ganesh Kumar Shrestha, Director General at the department, said Nepal will have 15 running air quality stations in and outside Kathmandu Valley by the end of the current fiscal.
“Though we have only three running stations so far, we will run 12 more stations by the end of this fiscal to make the public aware about air quality,” he told The Himalayan Times.
He said the department, with the help of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project, has already allocated nine locations in and around Kathmandu Valley to establish the stations.
Among them, the department has installed one station each in Ratnapark, Dhulikhel and Patan while only the Ratnapark-based station is currently in operation. Besides, ICIMOD and KSUTP have yet to establish their stations.
Kalimati, Machchhegaun, Bhaktapur, Khumaltar, Chandragiri and Shankhapark are six of the nine locations that have been identified for tinstalling stations. According to the agreement, the department has pledged to establish three stations, KSUTP has pledged four and two stations will be built by ICIMOD.
Shrestha added that besides the nine already proposed locations, three more stations will be established in Pokhara and the one in Ichchhyakamana will be repaired. The country will have altogether 15 stations, including two in Sauraha and Bhairahawa.
The government had resumed air quality monitoring operation in Kathmandu Valley this year seven years after closing the previous stations in 2009. The stations monitor levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and ozone in the atmosphere.
Although the practice of monitoring 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 government in 2008, the government entrusted the Environment and Public Health Organisation with management of the stations. However, a misunderstanding between the government and the ENPHO led to closure of the stations in 2009.