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Air quality may get worse in Dec. to Jan: Experts



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By Manjima Dhakal

Kathmandu, Nov. 11: Experts have warned that country might experience worse air condition in December and January.
The extreme form of air pollution in north India, including capital New Delhi in recent times, may affect the air quality of Nepal minimally, environment experts warned.
However, the air condition in Nepal is seemed to have improved over the months. According to a report of the Department of Environment a week ago, only the air condition of Nepalgunj was worse and the air quality of other parts looked good and moderate. However, air pollution in Kathmandu is a bit worse than the air of other parts.
Air pollution normally begins to increase from November and will reach its peak in December or January every year due to various reasons, environmentalists said.
But the impact of Indian pollution in Nepal will be minimal, they further said.
Due to long spell of dry condition, our polluted air cannot get washed and the air gets polluted for long, Bhushan Tuladhar, an environmentalist, said.
Likewise, brick kilns that came into operation from October after remaining closed during the rainy season contribute to air pollution as they use firewood to bake the bricks.
Govinda Lamichhane, an environmentalist at the Department of Environment, said pollution level during winter months may depend on rains and wind flow.

If it rains in time and wind blows frequently sweeping away the impure air somewhere during winter, the pollution cannot get to extreme level, he said.
It would be difficult to predict the exact level of pollution now. But it is sure that the level of pollution during winter will be higher than in other seasons, Lamichhane added.
In Nepal, the level of air pollution is measured by different bodies, mainly by the government, the US Embassy and at citizens’ level. The pollution level measured by the Department Of Environment on Sunday recorded Nepalgunj as the most polluted city of the country with 161 pm. Likewise, Bhainsepati station recorded the 115 PM, Jhumka, Sunsari station recorded 112 PM, Dang 112 PM, Ratnapark 102 PM, Sauraha 95 PM, GBS, Pokhara 54 PM, PU Pokhara 52 PM, Pulchowk 43PM, Simara 43 PM and Shankapark 31 PM.
According to the department, air pollution level below 50 PM is good and greenery friendly, 51 to100 PM is moderate, 100-150 PM is regarded as unhealthy.
During the last week, the pollution level in India reached about 500 PM which is highly hazardous. According to the World Air Quality Report, Kathmandu is the seventh most polluted capital city in the world, based on its average yearly PM 2.5 level. The same report had ranked Nepal the eighth most polluted country in the world.
The government has been launching different programmes like awareness generating campaigns, and tree plantation to keep the environment clean, Laamichhane said.
However, environmentalist Tuladhar stated that in lack of proper planning the country seemed to have failed to minimise air pollution quality. Almost 50 per cent of pollution could be minimised by controlling the man-made pollution, he added.
Tuladhar claimed 20 per cent of means of transport has been contributing for 50 per cent pollution in the Kathmandu Valley. If the green sticker scheme of the government becomes effective, pollution in the valley can be reduced considerably, he said.
Promoting the use of electric vehicles, making bicycle lanes in cities and suburban areas, encouraging people for walking may help make the environment clean, he added.