U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Alina B Teplez and the Secretary of Ministry of Population and Environment Bishwa Nath Oli jointly inaugurated the Air Quality Monitoring (AQM) systems at Ratna Park and Phora Durbar today.
“The information these monitoring stations provide will encourage all of us to work towards a cleaner, safer environment. This knowledge can help people make informed decisions about their daily activities,” Ambassador Teplitz said at the event.
These systems established by the U.S. Embassy, the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE) and ICIMOD are supporting AQM efforts in Nepal.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working together to record air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the globe. As part of this initiative, U.S. Embassy Kathmandu recently installed two air quality monitors (AQMs) in Kathmandu: they are located on the Embassy grounds and at the Phora Durbar Recreation Center in the Thamel area.
These AQMs collect data on two types of pollution: ozone (O3) and small, airborne particulate matter (2.5 microns and less, referred to as “PM 2.5”). The collected data is converted into a color-coded Air Quality Index (AQI) value that can help inform health-related decisions. The AQI value is calculated based on data over a 3-12 hour period depending on the variability of concentrations. This table illustrates the AQI values.
The data for the DOS AQMs in Kathmandu is available at the EPA AirNow website Kathmandu’s AQI can be observed either by clicking on the Nepal locations on the map, or by selecting “Kathmandu” or “Phora Durbar” in the “Select a City” option on the upper right part of the page. “Kathmandu” provides information on the data from the AQM at the U.S. Embassy and “Phora Durar” provides data from the AQM at Phora Durbar. For both locations, one can select either ozone or PM 2.5 data. Please note that data from the two DOS AQMs cannot be applied to the whole city of Kathmandu.
According to a the press release of U.S. Embassy Nepal, the Government of Nepal (GON) also provides its own GON air quality data for various areas in Nepal. The data displayed may not be directly comparable to AirNow data as the monitoring is at different locations and uses different equipment. In addition, the data may be analyzed in different ways.