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Patients, local residents hit hard as dust pervades Manthali air

- TIKA PRASAD BHATTA, RAMECHHAP 

May 17, 2019-

Tamakoshi Cooperative Hospital in Manthali, the district headquarters of Ramechhap, stands covered in clouds of dust blowing off nearby roads. Patients and health workers alike are suffering from the heavily polluted air.

Health workers at the hospital wear surgical mask at all times. Dr Suman Karmacharya, director at the hospital, said the dust pollution has not only affected the hospital staff and patients but also damaged equipment. Exposure to layers of dust has rendered some of these advanced medical equipment defunct.

Karmacharya said: “We have shut down all the front windows of the hospital building to avoid dust but it does not help. The problem gets worse each new day.”

Although hospital employees sprinkle water and clean the adjoining roads every day, the pollution persists. Doctors said dust particles have mostly affected patients of respiratory diseases and common cold.

According to the health facility, town residents frequent the hospital seeking treatment for skin ailments. “The number of patients coming in with complaints of skin related diseases and allergies has grown lately. This rise in skin diseases can be contributed to the rising dust pollution in the area,” said Karmacharya.

Local business has been hit due to dust pollution. Speeding vehicles leave a trail of dust behind. Though the authorities have set a speed limit of 20km per hour in the bazaar area, drivers have not taken it seriously.

Anita Shrestha, a local woman in Manthali, is worried about her children’s health. Her two children go to school in the morning, both neat and clean, but always return home covered in layers of dust and complaining of breathing problems.

Frustrated Manthali folk recently demonstrated in the bazaar area and submitted memoranda to the local administration and the municipality office demanding a solution. Chief District Officer Lila Kumari KC has directed the municipal office to sprinkle water on the dusty roads on a daily basis but is yet to find a lasting solution.

Ram Hari Uprety, a native of Manthali, said sprinkling water to settle the dust properly only adds fuel to the fire. According to him, the authorities must come up with a proper solution to fight dust in the area. He said: “We cannot get rid of the dust even though we clean the roads daily. There is no escaping.”

Uprety runs a grocery in the town and has seen losses of goods and customers due to dust.

Published: 17-05-2019 07:54

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