We all are familiar with pollution. We were taught in our schools about this topic in primary level. We also know our city life which means urbanization, modernization in our lifestyles. We are not always in our homes; we go to work outside our home environment we are constantly exposed with our environment.
The air we breathe are no more pure they are toxic, our water is contaminated and surroundings are no longer clean but messy. When we travel or walk outside it is dry and warm due to ozone layer depletion. Yet we are living for our survival. We are very close to the fact that air pollution is a dominant problem in Kathmandu. The database in pollution index ranks Nepal as third most polluted city around the world in 2017. In 2018also we have to cope with this still. Traffic of Nepal contributes to 70% air pollution. Construction works also create pollution by producing lot of particulate matters. The particles in the air are dust and mineral particles, ammonium sulphates, black carbon, organic carbon, ash and this goes into our body when we are constantly exposed to such environment and create lots of health and breathing problems. At home, conventionally we are using fuels like kerosene used cooking stoves, diesel engines that produce smokes, brick kilns and solid waste which are burnt gets circulated in the open air and this is how pollution triggers. In Kathmandu, Ratnapark was 158 on air quality index which is very unhealthy. Pulchowk is also another place where pollution is eminent. It is an alert that while Nepal’s national air pollution standard is 40 microgram per cubic meter, existing data show that the pollution levels in the Valley remains above 200 microgram per cubic meter. Not only air, pollution occur from water, soil, noise, heat/light and radioactive. It disturbs our ecosystem and creates disbalance in our environment.
Radioactive pollution causes cancer, infertility, blindness and defects at the time of birth. It can occur due to nuclear plant malfunctions, improper nuclear waste disposal, accidents, sterilize soil and affect air and water.
The sources of occurrence are:
1 Point source: They are easy to identify, monitor and control.
2 Non-point sources that is hard to control.
The effects of pollution are environmental degradation, negative impact on human heath with problems like asthma, lung cancer, chest pain, congestion in throat, inflammation, cardio vascular disease, respiratory problems, skin problems and noise pollution will lead into hearing loss, stress and sleep disturbances. Pollution also adversely affects nature, plants, fruit, vegetables, river, ponds, forest, and animals for their survival. Lastly, a polluted environment is a polluted society!
AQI (Air quality index)
The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health affects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. AQI is like a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 represents good air quality with little potential to affect public health, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.
AQI is divided into six categories:
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