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Action plan to reduce air pollution and improve air quality

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Nepal government launches Air Quality Management Action Plan for Kathmandu Valley

On 24 February 2020, the Council of Ministers of Nepal approved the Air Quality Management Action Plan for Kathmandu Valley. Prepared by the Government of Nepal, the plan was finalized after several rounds of consultation with stakeholders and environmental experts from government and non-government agencies, including ICIMOD. It proposes approaches to improve air quality, help protect public health and the environment, and enhance quality of life whilst considering the mitigation of climate change.

We have been providing technical support to the government’s work on its action plan for several years. In 2015, we commissioned a policy gap analysis with a focus on short-lived climate pollutants and existing policies and plans related to various sources of air pollution across different sectors in Nepal. Workshops and consultations continued through 2019 to support the review and finalization process.

The current action plan suggests ways to mitigate air pollution in Kathmandu Valley, where levels of PM 2.5 (particulate matter of diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, µm) are far beyond the 25 µg/ m3 ceiling set by the World Health Organization. Addressing indoor as well as outdoor air pollution and recognizing the importance of raising awareness, the plan recognizes the need to control air pollution emitted from the transportation, industrial, and construction sectors and inefficient waste management. It proposes the development of an environment-friendly and sustainable transport system, an air quality management decision support system, and possible policy and legal frameworks for the emergency management of air pollution.

As we gradually find our way back to normality, we must reduce air pollution and ensure air quality. More targeted national and transboundary policies on air pollution control measures are necessary.
(Paraphrased from ICIMOD 2020, COVID-19 impact and policy responses in the Hindu Kush Himalaya)

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