Air pollution across the country including the Kathmandu Valley has gone rampant in the past few days, and the condition is expected to remain for three more days.
Wind and rainfall are unlikely in some days, thus resulting in the continuation of the atmospheric pollution, said the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD). A lack of rainfall and wildfires in most parts of the country in the past few days are blamed for air pollution, said Shankar Prasad Paudel, Spokesperson for the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.
Satellite pictures have showed that air pollution has increased in the Kathmandu Valley (Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur), Bara, Parsa and Chitwan districts in particular, he said, adding that the Valley witnessed air pollution due to failure for the wind flowing into and accumulated in the Valley from Bara, Parsa and Chitwan through the Bagmati corridor to blow elsewhere.
The Department has urged people to take precautions and not to step outside home and to use facemasks and sunglasses. It will take some days for the clearance of air pollution, said meteorologist and disaster expert Dr Dharma Upreti. Air pollution increases risks of diseases like pressure, heart problems and cancer, said Paudel.
As a result of air pollution, flights have been also affected. Domestic flights were affected on Sunday due to low visibility, according to the Tribhuvan International Airport Office. However, international flights are generally operating. The Kathmandu Valley has been ranked as the most polluted city in the world, according to the WHO with the Air Quality Index (AQI) reading above 200. Bhaktapur, and Patan of Lalitpur district were mostly polluted.
Similarly, Kirtipur and Ratnapark in Kathmandu district, Madhyapur Thimi in Bhaktapur, Hetauda in Makawanpur and Dhankuta district were also among polluted cities with the AQI reading around 200.
Air quality with AQI between 51 and 100 is considered to be normal, and air quality with AQI above is said to be unhealthy. Air quality with AQI above 300 is considered to be dangerous and detrimental.
Generally, people with deteriorating health are prone to air quality with AQI above 50, and air quality with AQI above 100 is unhealthy to all.