Air polluted in mornings, evenings

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Sep 30, 2014-

Going out for a stroll in the mornings and evenings may seem fatal as the Valley air possesses high level of toxic particles particularly during these times, a government report said.

According to the report, Kathmandu scored below the standard. The report found PM 2.5 was measured in 28 microgram per cubic metre, for which the national standard is 20 microgram per cubic metre. The PM 2.5 dirt particles, which has potential to enter directly into the lungs, are in high concentration in the air during mornings and evenings.

A survey conducted by Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) reveals that dust particles less than 2.5 micrometre, that enters directly into the lungs, are found to increase during 5 am and spike around 9 am. The reports states that the level of dust particles decreases during the day time while it increases rapidly after 6 pm to 9 pm in the night. NHRC says PM 2.5 dirt particles cause respiratory diseases and heart attacks.

“Many people are out of their house for early morning exercise. This has increased the risk of people developing respiratory, heart, eye and skin diseases,” said Dr Khem Karki, member secretary of NHRC. “Our findings come at a time when government is promoting early morning work outs to curb the burden of non-communicable diseases including heart diseases, diabetes and cancer among others.”

Dr Karki said going out for a walk during morning is dangerous.

The one-year survey disseminated by NHRC on Tuesday looked into the dirt particles in Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu. The government health research body had placed three stations in Putalisadak, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur that would calculate the degree of these harmful dirt particles.  The study was conducted from February 13 to August 15 this year.

Dr Kirshna Aryal, research officer of NHRC said the source of these dirt particles are smokes emanated from vehicles and roads. “We need to conduct another study to confirm this. For now we can say that old vehicles and dirt emanated from roads are the source for these particles,” said Dr Aryal.

The research also revealed that the pollution level is way too high during the loadshedding period than normal times. The survey showed that during loadshedding the dirt particles in Putalisadak were 62.4 PM which were 47.6 during normal times. The air pollutants in normal time in Bhaktapur were 35.5 which increased to 50.5 during power outage. Also in Lalitpur, the air contained 40.2 amount of 2.5 micrometre particles while it spiked to 53.6 during power cuts. Dr Karki suggested that the government has to review its policy to curb non-communicable diseases and abstain people from going out for walk in the morning. He said indoor exercises and other physical activities inside home is best.

Published: 01-10-2014 08:00

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