“Dustmandu” Kathmandu

Image: icimod.org

By Prakriti Sapkota

As a known fact, the quality of Kathmandu’s air is degrading day by day. It is compared to that in some of the most polluted cities like New Delhi and Beijing. Several recent studies show that the city’s air pollution level is high. Resulting in, Kathmandu has ranked 5th in Pollution Index 2017 mid-year as published by the Numbeo.com.

Being an inhabitant of Kathmandu valley, when I gaze at the morning sky, all I see is dark colored fog, clouds of dust and murky sky. The day starts with suffocating dust, excruciating noise and nasty smell.The so-called capital city is rapidly marching towards being “the world’s most polluted city” unhindered.

Literally, Kathmandu had been tagged as “Dustmandu” or “Maskmandu”. But what is the use of just tagging the name instead of doing something to eradicate pollution? Has anyone thought that one small pandemic could cause a huge loss?

Image: thehimalayantimes.com

Traffic congestion along with road construction has become terrible in recent days. Let alone the pollution caused by industries, vehicles and so on. All these factors are ruining the quality of air. Pollution level is higher in early hours of the day. So, the health of people going for morning walks is now a big question. It obviously causes a lot of problems in the respiratory system and health of population directly or indirectly. At most, the fine particles in the smoke emitted by vehicles have toxic chemicals which go deep inside the body and might kill anyone.

It has now become the peak time for all of us to open a new discourse and say a big “NO” to pollution. In order to eradicate pollution, firstly urbanization must purposefully reverse by decentralizing facilities to every part of Nepal. Fuel based vehicles could be opted to environment-friendly safa tempos, sajha buses and trolley buses.

Secondly, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) needs to do more and come up with more strategies, including installation of dustbins around city to collect disposable and non-disposable products to preserve, clean, and safeguard the air quality of Kathmandu. KMC also needs to strictly implement the government decision of keeping a plastic dustbin inside the vehicles to restrict passengers from throwing garbage out of vehicles onto the streets.

Image depicting polluted and clean settlement. Created by Pukar Sapkota and Prakriti Sapkota

Thirdly, burning of plastics, waste should be discouraged and plantation should be encouraged to a great extent. Every single step towards clean city will certainly lead to settlements curtained by fog and mist instead of dark-colored clouds and fog; peaceful and managed streets instead of noisy traffics; cool breeze and fresh smell instead of dusty air and nasty smell and overall, a serene peaceful city.

Above all, every single individual should work hand in hand and must reflect on the social factors like awareness, responsiveness, moral duties and management towards eradicating pollution in the valley.

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