Air pollution in Nepal is worsening every day on. It’s clear that vehicular emission is contributing to this worst situation. News like “Majority of city vehicles fail emission standards” really frustrates city residents.
I am pretty sure you have seen the awful smoke coming out from the tailpipe of vehicles. These vehicles are poorly maintained and as result, they burn too much fuel. Poor fuel quality, worse road conditions, the condition of vehicles, inappropriate driving style are making our city ugly.
Sad to say that Nepal ranks at 176th position in Environment Performance Index(EPI) out of 180 countries in the world. As told earlier vehicular emission has a major role to remain in this shameful position. You can check updated EPI index in Yale Envirocenter. Nepal has the worst performance even in South Asia to combat air pollution.
In a study conducted by Ghimire and Shrestha in 2014, it was found that the total estimated vehicular emission only in Kathmandu Valley was above 7 million tons/year. The study was Published in the International Journal of Environment. According to the findings, Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV) accounts for 50%, while Light-Duty Vehicles (LDV) emits 27%, 2-Wheelers emits 22% and 3-Wheeler (Tempo) contributes 1% of the total emissions. Carbon dioxide leads the list of major polluters followed by CO, HC, NOx, PM10, and SO2.
If you are interested, you can check “Nepal Vehicle Mass Emission Standard BS 2056/1995AD” in Department of Environment Page.
The increment in vehicles
As per the news published by The Himalayan Times, the number of vehicles registered has reached above 2.5 million by March 22, 2017. Ten years ago, in fiscal year 2006/07, the number of vehicles were little above half a million. This exponential rise in vehicle registration counts all types of vehicles seen on the streets. Motorbikes alone counts 78% of these registered vehicles numbering 1,998,283. This growth in vehicles can have a significant impact on the economy. Unfortunately, the growth has appeared to be a burden for the environment because of the way they perform on the streets.
Impacts of air pollution
Coughing, difficulty in breathing and watery eyes are the most common effects of air pollution on human health. Long terms of exposure to air pollution can cause lung cancer, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and can lead to premature death as well. Higher pollution level has a significant impact on children and elder people.
Effects of air pollution in the environment can cause acid rain, depletion of ozone layer, impacts in the food chain and much more. I am not going into details of the effects of air pollution. This is because pollution can’t be beneficial in any sense.
What can you do to combat vehicular emission
If you do not own vehicle then you are already contributing to reducing pollution. if you take public vehicles to work or another purpose, you are smart enough.
If you own a vehicle, there can be a lot more things you can do to reduce pollution. Have a look at the following practical and applicable measures you can do to beat pollution from your side.
1. Regular check-up of your vehicles is highly recommended. I am not sure whether you are aware of the existence of Vehicle Fitness Test Centre (VFTC)in Teku Kathmandu. The center has a complete health check-up facility of the vehicles and its roadworthiness. VFTC check emission, brakes, horns, light, chassis and much more of your vehicle. The center has a capacity of 30 large and 30 small vehicles per day. DOT site has the office address and name of the officer in charge but sadly not more than that.
2. Poor fuel quality can result in the damaging engine, premature engine failure or decreased performance. I do not recommend compromising with fuel quality. Do not fill diesel or petrol everywhere. Do it only at trusted petrol or diesel pumps.
3. Did you know that driving wisely can same fuel cost? Maintain minimum speed. Use brakes and accelerator as necessary. You can read more benefits of wise driving in Fremont Green Challenge.
4. Avoid unnecessary idling of vehicles, which pollutes the air, wastes fuel and causes excess engine wear.
5. Taking a bicycle to work can help to reduce pollution in the city. You can read more benefits of cycling in Kathmandu in one of the SafaNepal’s blog.
6. Last but not the least use vehicles only when necessary.
As it’s already in the news that the government has banned public vehicles that are 20 years or older starting March 15, 2018. That’s a positive move by the government to combat pollution. I would say this is good for society.
Besides this, Department of Transport (DOT) has planned to make emissions tests mandatory. The test will take place in 19 different places across the country. According to DOT, this mandatory test will help to address air pollution in major cities of Nepal. The vehicles which pass the test will be provided a green sticker and will qualify to operate.
At this point let’s hope for success and sustainability of the program. You can read the news about Probihiting vehicles exceeding the emission standards in the DOT website.
There are much more issues to be implemented to control pollution from vehicles. I don’t want to make complicated recommendations like in research paper. The noteworthy point I would like to emphasize is the mandatory implementation of environmental legislation. Nobody should compromise with air quality. Authority should stick to plan for implementation of emission standards. Drivers and commuters should be dedicated and act responsibly to combat air pollution.
It is the responsibility of every single one of us to take care of the environment.