The air pollution in Kathmandu is nothing new but recent figures released by Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) suggests that up to 35,000 people lose their lives due to air pollution in the country every year. With Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago suggesting that air pollution is becoming the world’s biggest environmental health threat, it should come as no surprise that air pollution kills more than all road accidents in Nepal every year. Furthermore, the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) released by Yale University and Columbia University in January 2018 ranked Nepal the last for air-quality among 180 countries.
In October 2016, it was believed that air pollution took the lives of 9000 annually compared to approximately 2000 deaths by road. With the most recent figure by NAST, it definitely calls for an urgent action from those in power, influence and living everyday to make changes in their daily lifestyle to mitigate the risks of air pollution. Code for Nepal’s #BreatheFreely online survey from 2017 revealed that 64% of respondents stated that they used masks on a daily basis from the 789 responses.
It’s tragic for all those living in the country, exposed to the harmful level of air pollution. Much worse for those already suffering with medical conditions such as asthma and the young and older age group.