Kathmandu: The third most polluted city in the world

- Gaurav Thapa and Anuj Kumar Adhikari, Kathmandu

Mar 19, 2016-

In a latest finding which may not surprise many, Kathmandu has been ranked the third most polluted city in the world, according to Pollution Index 2016.

According to latest pollution index published by Serbia-based research website, Nepal’s Capital city sits in the third position of the pollution ranking with a pollution index of 96.66. The last pollution ranking published in the middle of 2015 had also placed Kathmandu in the third position while in the beginning of 2015 Kathmandu was in the fifth position.

The rankings are are based on perceptions of visitors to the website and includes some relevant data from World Health Organisation and other institutions, says about the pollution index. The index is an estimation of the overall pollution in the city with the biggest weight given to air pollution and then to water pollution.

The dismal performance in pollution index was expected as a 2014 report of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment shows that Kathmandu air contains 400 micrograms of particulate matter up to 10 micrometres in size per cubic metre or the PM10 is 400µg/m3. However, the maximum limit for PM10 set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards is 120µg/m3. Likewise, another 2014 report by Clean Energy Nepal shows that Kathmandu air contains 260 micrograms of particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in size per cubic metre or the PM2.5 is 260µg/m3 against maximum limit of 40µg/m3. The air quality samples for both results were taken from Putali Sadak.

The existing situation of water pollution is equally troubling. According to a research conducted by Bagmati Civilisation Integrated Development Committee in October last year, water in the Bagmati River at Minbhawan contains 0.53 milligrams of dissolved oxygen per litre or the DO is 0.53mg/l. Comparing this to the fact that any aquatic animal cannot survive in water with less than 3mg/l shows how polluted our rivers are. Likewise, chemical oxygen demand of water--total measurement of all chemicals in the water that can be oxidised--at the same place is 128.44mg/l and biochemical oxygen demand--the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms--is 68.3mg/l. The effluent standard for industries for both COD and BOD is less than 30mg/l.

In the latest pollution index, Tetovo city of Macedonia has been ranked the most polluted city in the world followed by Egypt’s capital city Cairo. Other Asian cities Philippines’s capital Manila, Noida and Delhi of India, Guangzhou of China and Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam also make the top 10.

In the Pollution Index for Country 2016, Nepal sits in the 17th place with Egypt as the most polluted country in the world.

Published: 19-03-2016 13:28

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