9-15 January 2015 #740

Bad air

Gagan Thapa in himalkhabar.com, 27 December

Kathmandu’s denizens have long battled chronic issues related to transportation, polluted air, waste management, and shortages of energy and drinking water.

For those of us who can afford it, inverter and generators, private transportation and water tankers are easy alternatives to long power cuts, overcrowded public transports and scarcity of drinking water. But in case of air pollution, we cannot purchase fresh air to breathe.

Whether rich or poor, air pollution is a problem common to all and the only solution is for everyone to pitch in and minimise its effects. Keeping in mind the widespread problems faced by residents in the capital, we the CA members representing Kathmandu recently wrote to the Prime Minister about the pollution hazards as well as the solutions.

Whilst our collective effort is still on, the Liveable Kathmandu campaign recently organised an interaction program on air pollution. According to research conducted by Ram Prasad Regmi, Kathmandu’s bowl-shaped valley has a unique topographic feature that promotes temperature inversion, trapping pollutants in a surface layer of air. As temperatures increase in the afternoon, a fresh afternoon breeze blows away the polluted air towards the hills to the east, affecting people in the area too. The unique topography and wind movement of the valley is completely natural and thus out of our control. So does that mean we are to throw up our hands and do nothing? We created air pollution and we can clean it up.

Liveable Kathmandu has conducted studies, research, and discussions that have helped the CA representatives from Kathmandu better understand the problems and motivated us to maximise our efforts to minimise the level of air pollution in the Valley.