Clean Air Alliance has been formed under the leadership of DR. Chirajnivi Bhattarai with a view to generate awareness among the people regarding the importance of clean air. A statement issued by the newly formed alliance says: “Environmental problems are increasing day by day in Nepal. Uncontrolled urbanization, pollution problems have become more widespread. Air pollution in major cities, including Kathmandu, is many times higher than the standards set by the World Health Organization and the Government of Nepal.”
“According to the World Health Organization, the amount of PM2.5 should not exceed 25 ug/m3 in 24 hours,” pointed out the alliance. According to the standards set by Government of Nepal, the value is limited to 40 ug/m3. Last year, the amount of PM2.5 had reached more than 500 ug/m3 in most of the places including Singha Durbar in Kathmandu, which is considered fatal for public health. With the declaration of health emergency for four days, the educational institutions came to a standstill due to the massive air pollution.
According to a global burden of disease report 2020, in Nepal17,900 deaths were caused by PM2.5 pollutions in 2019. The number is greater than the fatal caused by COVID-19. Manufacturing and construction industries, vehicle emissions, and waste burning and rampant wildfires contribute to poor air quality in Nepal. As there is a massive increment in air pollution; however, Nepal government’s initiative to control air pollution has always been insufficient. There are no distinct policies for the Air Pollution. Recently, the government has approved the “Kathmandu Valley Air Quality Management Action Plan” which tries to address issues comprehensively but are not adequately reflected in national policy documents. There is an absence of strong and robust institutional development for pollution control and management. Strong, coordinated, and effective efforts are need of time to tackle the growing problem of air pollution, and together voices are a need to draw the attention of government and sensitize the people and support in policy formulation.
The alliance has been formed comprising representatives from the civil societies, University, Nepal Environment Society and journalists. The alliance includes the following executive members: Dr. Chiranjibi Bhattarai – National Coordinator, Nepal Water Conservation Foundation, Dr. Ramesh Sapkota – Member, Tribhuvan University – Central Department of Environmental Science, Bhola Bhattarai- Member, National Advocacy Forum, Kiran Timilsina – Member, Sanotsh Khanal – Member, Nepal Environment Society, Kamana Jha- Member, Connection Nepal, Arati Poudel – Member, Digobikash Institute, Yam Bam – Press Coordinator, Anju Pokharel – Member Secretary, Youth Alliance for Environment.