Air pollution in Kathmandu

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The dusty streets of Kathmandu on a dry day.


Visibility in Kathmandu Valley is seriously limited by the air pollution.  Almost all the people in the streets wear the face masks to protect themselves from the polluted air. 

Kathmandu cannot change itself and Kathmanduites have to change their behavior to get cleaner air.

Traffic causes a major part of the air pollution. Not just the exhaust from vehicles but also the dust from construction works on the streets are blown in the air by the movement of vehicles. 

Road expansion started over four years ago has yet to be completed while digging of roads to lay pipeline for bringing drinking water from Melamchi river has wreaked havoc on the city with the contractors not blacktopping the roads after laying the pipes.

Around 125 brick factories in the Valley, all fueled by coal, also significantly contribute to air pollution.

The local tradition of burning the corpses of dead people in the open air on a wood fire also adds to the total air pollution in the city. 

It is a surprise that there are so little electric vehicles in the streets. Although they can be bought in Kathmandu, demand is not very high.

Polluted air hanging like a blanket over the Kathmandu Valley

Visibility is very poor in Kathmandu Valley even on a sunny day

A lot of dust is thrown in the air due to ongoing works on the roads.

Public cremations also add to the air pollution

The “green” bus is not that green!

Almost all people in the streets have to wear face masks.

Electric scooters are for sale, but there is almost no demand for them

The electric Tuk Tuk is a good initiative to fight air pollution. 

A rare sighting of an electric car in the streets of Kathmandu

Marcel van Vuren is a photojournalist doing internship in Kathmandu with InternshipNepal.

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