KATHMANDU, Nepal-Air pollution has emerged as one of the biggest challenge to Nepalese people. Air quality of Kathmandu has failed to meet national and international standards, experts and findings have concluded.
Capital Kathmandu and other urban center have been proved as a typical example of pollution in recent days. Until 1970, Kathmandu was idealized as unspoiled haven in the Himalayas and its air was comparatively piston. However, since then, the pollution has more than tripled. The population increase has been accompanied by unprecedented growth in industry and the traffic has increased such an extent that now more than half million vehicles ply the streets of valley.
According to a publication prepared by ICIMOD in partnership with regional resource center for Asia and Pacific, United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of the Government of Nepal, over the past few decades rural to urban migration caused various forms of pollution. In 1990, less than nine percent of people lived in cities, but, by 2050, it is estimated that half of the population will be urban. In 2001, Kathmandu was home to an estimated 1.6 million people and approximately 38 percent of all the industries in Country.
To date, only a few studies of systematic studies of air pollution inventory monitor and air quality assessment have been carried out in Nepal. There have been very few study on the impact of air quality and long term epidemiological studies are almost no-existent. There is a large amount of evidence linking air pollution with rises in the incidence of respiratory disorders.
High concentrations of atmospheric pollutants pose a special threat to the health of the residents of Kathmandu valley especially during the winter season. Acute respiratory disorders are among the top five diseases reported in Nepal. An estimated 30 million Nepalese rupees ($400,000) of hospital costs every year could be saved by reducing the level of airborne pollutants to meet World Health Organization guidelines.
Nepal had set up national thresh hold limit for airborne pollutants in 2003 which have been updated in 2012.