Public Health Administrator for the Country Office of WHO in Nepal, Dr. Khurshid Alam Hyder said that air pollution is one of the emerging health and environmental issues.
He said that the quality of air that people breathe is not healthy and exceeds almost five times the WHO recommended value. KMC and LMC have already committed to maintaining the air quality within the WHO guideline by joining the BreatheLife campaign.
Addressing a symposium with local government representatives on air pollution management in Kathmandu Valley, he said that WHO has been providing technical support to minimize health impacts of air pollution through research studies and capacity building and will continue so in implementing an air quality management action plan
Organized jointly by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), Department of Environment (DoEnv), World Health Organization (WHO), Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN) and Clean Energy Nepal (CEN), a symposium with local government representatives on air pollution management in Kathmandu Valley” via zoom platform discussed the way to improve the air quality of the valley.
The main objective of the symposium was to discuss the problem of air pollution and its health effects among the representatives of municipalities and addressing the problem of air pollution from their level in the Kathmandu Valley. It was organized under the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) as knowledge-sharing event with support from WHO.
Focused on the immediate implementation of Kathmandu Air Quality Management Action Plan, 2076 from the local level, around 80 participants joined the program including the Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Chiefs of Environment Sections and health officials of local governments of Kathmandu Valley, senior officials from MoHP, DoEnv, WHO, Academician and Journalists through in the program.
Moderated by the Board Chair of CEN, Bhushan Tuladhar, Chief of Health Coordination Division from MoHP, Prof. Dr. Jageshwor Gautam delivered welcome remarks highlighting the sources of air pollution, degrading air quality of the valley during winter and the interlinkage of air pollution and COVID-19.
Dr. Gautam shared about the efforts of the government of Nepal and municipalities to curb air pollution and concluded his remark by saying that: “we must take a holistic and integrated approach to minimize air pollution engaging all the concerned stakeholders.”
Mayor of Dhulikhel Municipality and also the President of MuAN Ashok Kumar Byanju said that “integrated planning and effective coordination among all the local governments of Kathmandu Valley is inevitable to control air pollution including maintaining environmental sanitation in the Valley.
In his presentation, Prof. Sanjay Nath Khanal highlighted the causes and scenario of air pollution in Kathmandu Valley by taking reference to the latest research findings and suggested the possible measures which can contribute to controlling air pollution.
Indu Bikram Joshi, DDG of DoEnv, in his presentation highlighted the key features of Kathmandu Valley Air Quality Management Action Plan, 2076 and the role of different stakeholders including the Local Government of the Valley.
Mayors and Deputy Mayors of different municipalities shared their remarks in the program where they shared about the problem they are facing and the key initiatives they have taken forward to control air pollution at the local level.
They also highlighted the need for technical and financial resources required for the local level to initiate programs focusing on air pollution including other environmental problems in the Valley and stressed the need for effective coordination among all local governments including the federal and provincial governments.
DG of DoEnv, Mukunda Prasad Niraula delivered a closing remark in the program and Board Chair of CEN, Tuladhar summarized the discussion at the end of the program.