KATHMANDU, Jan 7: After the weather started to get warmer, the smog over the Kathmandu Valley has been clearing up, but the air quality is still at the unhealthy level as the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on Thursday was recorded between 75 and 150 μg/m3.
With the dipping mercury and increase in pollution, the Kathmandu Valley became the most polluted city in the world as the PM2.5 level crossed the 400 μg/m3 mark for two straight days – Monday and Tuesday.
“After the weather started to get warm, pollution moved above from the atmosphere, and was dispersed from Kathmandu. However, the Kathmandu Valley might still face the same situation if the temperature starts to fall further,” Ram Charitra Shah, an environmental scientist, told Republica.
Despite some improvement, the Kathmandu Valley on Thursday was the seventh most polluted city in the world.
“Kathmandu is still at risk. The PM2.5 level is still 150 micrograms per cubic meter showing the city’s air is unhealthy to breath,” said Shah, adding that people should be cautious while coming out of their homes.
After the Valley’s pollution level was “worst”, the government on Tuesday urged the people to stay indoors, and not to come out of their houses unless necessary. The government had urged one and all, especially children, elderly and those with respiratory problems, to adopt proper precautions against the increasing air pollution while venturing outside.
“Yes, the air quality has improved in the last two days. But, we have been favored by nature. The rising temperature helped pollution to move upwards, and get dispersed. But, the pollution level in the Kathmandu Valley is still high,” said Bhusan Tuladhar, an environmentalist.
“Pollution was trapped in the atmosphere due to the weather. Also, after the temperature started to increase, people stopped lighting bonfires, which has also reduced pollution,” he said, adding that the Kathmandu Valley’s air quality has always been worse in winters.