Royal families, classy people, the finest and beautiful buildings , black topped clean wide roads, well dressed clean people and their pride; An image of unseen Baluwatar in me since my childhood. The image is still the same. This part of the city is supposed to be fascinating with its cleanliness and sophisticated residential planning. Kathmandu has been ranked as one of the most polluted cities. Yet; pollution here is unlikely.
Birendra Singha, painter by profession from Baitadi has been making frequent visits to Kathmandu for his work for the last 5 years. He says, “I have seen many cities, dirtier and worse than Kathmandu. Air pollution is a major problem here. But in Baluwatar, I do not even feel that. It’s clean.”
A regular door to door fruit seller, Rameshwor, shares “I am selling fruits in this area for about four years. Even when constructions are ongoing, I have seen no pollution. I never have had to use mask.”
In contradiction, a shopkeeper was trying to clean-off the dusty layer from lentil sacks. Dust rolling over the air every minute was more than enough to explain the air pollution in the area. With a question on how he is dealing with the daily dust, he laughed loud and said, “It’s not a problem. The dust is because of the construction of nearby buildings. Otherwise it is not a big problem.”
Baluwatar is known as an administrative center for Kathmandu where everyone is engaged and hustling. The pedestrians passing by were monitored. Out of 87 people who passed through, only 10 wore masks to avoid air pollution. This observation of Baluwatar for an hour reflects the cleanliness and responsiveness of people supporting the area to keep it fresh inside the dusty Kathmandu.