Kathmandu Tops List of World’s Most Polluted Cities, Government urges People to Wear Masks

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Kathmandu Tops List of World’s Most Polluted Cities, Government urges People to Wear Masks

April 30: The Ministry of Health and Population has urged the general public to wear masks due to a surge in air pollution levels in Kathmandu. Describing the air quality in the federal capital as among the most unhealthy globally, the ministry has advised the citizens to wear masks as a protective measure against pollution.

Dr Prakash Budhathoki, spokesperson for the ministry, stressed the importance of minimizing outdoor activities, avoiding unnecessary travel, and steering clear of heavily polluted areas due to the elevated levels of air pollutants in Kathmandu.

Citing the 'World Air Quality Index-Ranking', which ranks Kathmandu's air quality as the highest in terms of unhealthiness worldwide, Budhathoki said, “Air pollution impacts health causing cardiovascular issues, respiratory ailments like asthma, increases cancer risk, and other health complications.”

Mostly children under five years old, pregnant women, chronically ill people and the elderly account for high number of annual deaths due to air pollution in Nepal. Air pollution has reduced the average life expectancy of Nepalese by 4.1 percent.    

Budhathoki reiterated that numerous studies and data affirm air pollution as a primary contributor to illness and mortality rates in Nepal.

With the looming threat of heatwaves and heatstroke in the Terai region during the summer, the ministry has also urged people to limit unnecessary outdoor activities during daylight hours, increase fluid intake, and consume liquid-based foods.

Additionally, the ministry has observed a rise in admission of patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide coinciding with the escalating summer temperatures. -- RSS





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