Kathmandu's air pollution ranks third worst globally, urgent safety measures advised

Published On: April 8, 2024 10:38 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 8: Air pollution in Kathmandu has reached alarming levels, ranking third on the list of the world's most unhealthy cities, according to Switzerland's IQAir, which provides real-time air quality measurements globally. New Delhi in India holds the top spot, followed by Chiang Mai in Thailand.

As of Monday morning, Kathmandu's air quality index (AQI) stands at 173, classified as unhealthy for public health. An AQI between 151 to 200 falls under the red category, indicating 'unhealthy' conditions.

Comparatively, New Delhi records an AQI of 244, with an AQI between 201 to 300 categorized as being extremely unhealthy.

The AQI assesses pollution levels by measuring fine particles known as PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the air. A reading above 100 is considered unhealthy for sensitive individuals, and above 150 is deemed unhealthy for everyone.

Various monitoring stations across Nepal track air quality, with Lalitpur's Khumaltar reporting very unhealthy air, registering an AQI of 210 according to the Department of Environment under the Ministry of Forest and Environment.

Similarly, Ratnapark records 172, Shankhapark 166, Tribhuvan International Airport 166, Bhaisepati 165, Bhaktapur 160, and Dhankuta 152 on the AQI scale.

Public health experts advise staying indoors during unhealthy air conditions and suggest wearing masks, goggles, and full-body coverings if outdoor activities are necessary. They emphasize the adverse effects of unhealthy air on eyes, lungs, and skin, particularly affecting respiratory patients and children. In light of this, minimizing outdoor exposure, utilizing masks, protective eyewear, and covering exposed skin is recommended.

In Chaitra 2077 BS, the government had previously closed schools for four days due to high levels of air pollution in Kathmandu.

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