The ministry of environment (MoE) has recently released a fresh data on air pollution.
“Level of fine particles in the air with diameters less or equal to 10 micrometer is known as PM10. The national standard of pollutant PM10 is 120 microgram per cubic meter (UG/M3 – chemical vapors, fumes, or dust in the ambient air as a measurable value unit),” said Surendra Subedi, senior divisional chemist at the ministry. “And our latest data is simply alarming,” he added.
The air quality monitoring stations at various places in the valley have reported that PM10 in Putalisadak is 300 UG/M3, Thamel 200 UG/M3 and Bhaktapur 150 UG/M3.
These places recorded PM10 far beyond the national air quality standard, while Machchhegaun showed its PM10 at just 70 UG/M3.
It is essential to monitor the air quality on a regular basis so that measures to fight deteriorating air quality can be put in place.
However, six monitoring stations set up with an aid of Rs 60 million from the Danish government plus two stations in Kirtipur and Patan established by the MoE in 2002 remained useless for five years. Only four of them are in working condition at present.
When last measured in 2008, Patan, Thamel and Putalisadak showed the highest air pollution levels ranging from 120 UG/M3 to 135 UG/M3.
Subedi informed that the stations at Patan and Kirtipur may not come into operation any time soon as they are finding it hard to get spare parts for the equipment.
“We arranged the spare parts for the four stations that are now operational with a great difficulty. We have not been able to find parts for the other two machines yet,” he said.
A recently published report by ICIMOD says that the route from Kalanki to Thankot is massively polluted.
Pointing at the significant rise in respiratory diseases among Kathmandu residents over the years, the study, conducted from 2009 to 2011 at various places in Kathmandu, calls for immediate steps to tackle the problem of air pollution in the Valley.
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