By Shandip KC
AGRA, India, Dec 8 –
The significant decline in the air pollution level of Kathmandu has been appreciated today in the fourth Better Air Quality Workshop being participated by 650 experts from 35 Asian countries in Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal.
The air pollution level in Kathmandu has decreased markedly as the PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter), a major air pollutant, has gone down by seven percent.
Derek Langgons, environment specialist, Snowy Mountains Engineering Cooperation, who visited several South Asian cities including Kathmandu, appreciated the city’s efforts to control the urban air pollution. "Kathmandu has the best air pollution monitoring system, other cities can learn from it," he said.
"The concentration of PM10 has decreased by seven percent since last year," says Chiranjibi Gautam, Urban Environment and Air Quality management Advisor at Environment Sector Program Support (ESPS) – a Danish project working to curb the air pollution in Kathmandu.
The data compiled by Clean Air Initiative (CAI) Asia show that the level of particulate matter, among others, has decreased to significant levels in Asian cities, including Kathmandu. However, many Asian cities still have pollutant levels exceeding the World Health Organization’s standard.
The major air pollutants of Kathmandu are emissions from vehicles and brick kilns. However, as the kiln owners in Kathmandu are now adopting cleaner and advanced technologies in brick production, the condition has improved significantly.
Meanwhile, Bhushan Tuladhar, environmental expert, Clean Energy Nepal, who led the country network of Nepal during the workshop, said that one of the unseen reasons of improved air quality in Kathmandu was the non-mobility of vehicles immediately after evening.
"Very few vehicles ply on the road between dusk and dawn, resulting in reduced vehicular emissions during nights," Tuladhar said.
Anil K. Raut, representing EnvironmentNEPAL at the BAQ, was awarded with the BAQ 2004 award on the ‘NGO Dedication’ category. The organizers appreciated the long and continuous efforts of Raut in reducing air pollution in Kathmandu. Altogether six participants, in various categories, received the awards.
Published on 09 December 2004, The Kathmandu Post