Pollution taking toll on health of Valley denizens

Pollution taking toll on health of Valley denizens

Madhu Bhandari, a street vendor, returned to selling goods at Jadibuti on Friday, a week after suffering from fever and headache.

The haphazard road expansion activities going on along the Pepsicola-Jadibuti road section since last month has not only affected her business but has also exposed her to toxic air pollutants such as dust, construction debris and vehicular emissions.

“I’m having difficulties in carrying on my business,” the 36-year-old said in wailing voice.

The concentration of harmful air pollutants, particularly dust particles with potential to enter deep into the lungs is found to be significantly high in Kathmandu, with construction works and road expansion drive at different parts of the Valley picking up the pace as this fiscal nears its close.

“The Kathmandu Valley has been plagued with high level of dust and debris from construction, contributing to air pollution this time,” said Toran Sharma, director at the Nepal Environment and Scientific Services (NESS).

According to him, the smoke and ash from the forest fires around the Valley and other parts of the country has also contributed to smoky haze pollution in Kathmandu as well as other urban cities like Pokhara.

Lack of rain and strong winds suggest the hazy condition will persist for a longer time. There is growing public furor over the poor air quality in Kathmandu, one of the polluted cities in the world in terms of impact on human health.

Various complaints over the lack of attention from the authorities on degrading air quality have been submitted to Hello Sarkar, a hotline established to allow public record their problems to the government body.

“Everyone living here in Kathmandu is feeling the impact of air pollution. Unfortunately, we are not aware to what extent our air is polluted and how badly it is impacting our health in the absence of proper monitoring,” Sharma added.

Source: The Kathmandu Post