Kathmandu, A dirty Capital – Story published in Annapurna Post National Daily, Kathmandu
With in a decade air pollution has grown at an alarming rate in the kathamndu valley. The latest government monitoring report shows pollution has increased 40 percent in last 5 years. Now capital has turned as one of the dirtiest cities in the world. The average PM10 in katmandu is now reached at 400 (more than 7 times of WHO standards)
Air is contaminated with particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, and nitrous oxide. Rapid growth of old vehicles, poor fuel combustion (adulterated vehicles fuel), broken dusty roads, are the main contributing factors to air pollution. The bowl shaped physiography, and the resulting inversion effect in the atmosphere intensify the air pollution by trapping the foul air within the valleys’ immediate atmosphere.
Kathmandu is facing serious environmental problems. Spontaneous urbanization, rising human growth, increased polluting vehicles and industries, centralized development activities, etc., have been gradually degrading the living environment in the capital city.According to the experts Vehicles, expanding roads are the main source of pollution.Visibility was also severely reduced. In addition, studies indicate that poor air quality is taking a toll on human health and health costs. Around 6000 premature deaths yearly.
As Asia’s mega cities grow and grow, so does the traffic. In the Sri Lankan capital commuters set aside 3hrs to travel 10km into the city and back. But experts say that more and more are opting for private commute if they can afford, because public transport is unsafe, unreliable and sometimes as one commuter told me is akin to travelling in a public restroom. The traffic is not only a drain on energy, but a major emission factor.
Air pollution due to rapid urbanisation compounded by population growth and unplanned development works in the South Asian cities is affecting lives of millions of populations. The Kathmandu Valley, which is undergoing infrastructure changes including expansion of roads is witnessing severe air pollution threats, particularly during the dry season. With poor air quality monitoring and regulation, the particulate matter s, suspended and harmful gases has threatened public and at the same time degraded the local environment.
This just in: dust and soot in the air are making the Himalaya melt faster. Tiny soot particles emitted from the exhaust of diesel vehicles, thermal power plants, firewood, and dung cooking stoves have long been known to cause lung disease, but a new study has shown that they also have a profound role in heating the earth’s surface. Read more
An increasing amount of research linking black carbon to global warming could bolster US efforts to make control of the pollutant part of the climate agenda. But with considerable scientific uncertainty persisting over the warming effects of soot, public health not climate change remains the main reason to clean up Asia’s dirty air. Click here to go to story.
The recent cold wave across the country not only made temperatures plunge, but also blanketed most of the Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pukthunkhwa provinces in thick fog. While the residents of Lahore are used to the annual winter fog that starts in December, this year it spread all the way up to Islamabad and Peshawar and down to Sukkur and Larkana divisions. This is certainly unusual, but in keeping with what climate change scientists have warned us about “extreme weather conditions” in the years to come. According to Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, local climate change expert and Vice-President of the World Meteorological Organisation from Asia, “Normally, January is the winter rain season but this year the dry period was extended which might mean a change in climate patterns…
This December, as I noted on my short trip to Lahore, many people I encountered had a short, rasping cough – a byproduct of life in a crowded, growing industrial city. Lahore is where traffic jams have become the norm and where December is known for its thick blanket of smog. I live now in Islamabad, where the air pollution levels are much lower and it made me think about how my home city, the Lahore of lush gardens, has become one of the most polluted cities in Asia. Read more on: http://dawn.com/2013/01/02/bussing-it-for-a-change/