At one time the authorities were strictly checking these emissions by measuring them and even fining the offending vehicle owners

Article 35 of the Constitution of Nepal has guaranteed the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.

Unfortunately this is not being implemented with people suffering from various debilitating respiratory diseases, among others, largely due to air pollution.

The capital of the country is reported to be the third most polluted city in the world which is a matter of immense concern. Many Nepali citizens do not know about the pollution levels in their areas, city and even country.

There has been a rapid rise in the number of patients with chest ailments. According to the statistics made available the number of such patients has doubled in the last 13 years.

The Nepal Health Research Council says that five per cent of those hospitalized with respiratory problems are caused by air pollution, while six per cent have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 10 per cent acute respiratory infections and 15 per cent are hospitalized due to pneumonia.

It is appalling to learn that the existing national air pollution is 200 microgram per cubic metre according to the latest measurement in the Kathmandu Valley while the national safe standard is 40 microgram per cubic metre.

The air pollution is largely due to the vehicular emissions as well as to the burning of fossil fuel. The number of vehicles plying on roads is growing alarmingly.

It is high time that action was taken against all the owners whose vehicles are emitting harmful emissions exceeding the standard set for emissions tests.

At one time the authorities were strictly checking these emissions by measuring them and even fining the offending vehicle owners. Vehicles which passed the test were given green stickers.

However, it is learnt that there are many vehicle owners putting the green stickers on their own to enable them to use the roads without restrictions.

Since air pollution is becoming a serious problem not only in Kathmandu but several other cities in the country, stern action should be taken against the offenders and old vehicles should not be allowed to ply.

There is a provision that prohibits vehicles more than 20 years old from using the roads, but it has not been implemented in earnest.

Meanwhile, programmes such as the one held by ICIMOD named “Air pollution in Kathmandu: Myth and Truth” the other day is relevant as they have helped to raise the awareness about the deteriorating air pollution level in the capital city and country.

Meanwhile, the dust raised by passing vehicles is also responsible for the increasing level of respiratory diseases. As such, all the roads should be repaired with a sense of urgency and preferably be black topped as quickly as possible.

It is also advisable to wear masks in the meantime as the pollution level is going out of control. Thus, we are in very difficult times due to the present air pollution.

It looks like this health hazard would remain and even worsen in the future unless drastic action was taken to deal with it.

We face an immense challenge and now it is for all to do something about air pollution and also the emissions by brick kilns.

Cable cars

French Ambassador to Nepal Yves Carmona has submitted a feasibility study report of Kathmandu City Urban Cable Car Project to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

A French consortium had conducted a study on the possibility of operating cable cars in four areas in the city. The main objective of the study report is to operate cable car system with clean energy.

Cable cars are accessible and effective for managing the traffic problems and developing a quicker mode of transportation compared to Metro or monorails.

The study has found that the cable cars can help reduce about 30 to 40 percent road traffic disturbances.

They will be environment-friendly, cost effective and save around 60 percent travelling time. The study has also recommended for developing the cable car system on a public private partnership model.

The report says that cable cars can be operated on the Lagankhel-Jamal, Tankeshore-Gongabu Bus Park, Kalanki-Ratnapark and Boudhanath-Bishnumati River routes.

The government must take the report seriously and find resources to implement the report without any delay as it will add beauty to the city as well as enhance tourism prospects, giving much environmental relief to the city denizens facing dirt and pollution due to too much traffic.