Safa Hawa – An added segregation

In Nature Khabar online. This link – http://naturekhabar.com/en/archives/9601

April 27, 2018

A mobile application ‘safa hawa’ was launched in Kathmandu some days ago. The app is said to provide hourly updates of the pollution level from two air quality monitoring stations currently. And the app is said to be available for both android and ios platforms.

Forget about an Iphone, I don’t even have an android phone. So, my question is, don’t I have the right to breathe ‘safa hawa’? What about them who don’t even have a mobile phone? Don’t they have the right to breathe ‘safa hawa’? If I were to make a very, very bad comment on the question, it would be – “Why are you breathing till date if you cannot even buy an android phone?”

I have no acrimony towards the developers or launchers. My only concern is – why are only a particular group of people focused? And why are we thinking of running away and avoiding pollution rather than trying to resolve the root of the problem? If the policy makers really want to push for policy changes, they don’t need a mobile app to collect pollution information; they can simply get the data from the monitoring stations itself.

We already removed a lot of pollutant particles from the atmosphere by inhaling and depositing it in our lungs but such pollutants never seem to have decreased there in the atmosphere. Same as the Bagmati cleanup program!

Let’s return back to ‘safa hawa’. For e.g., I have to go to Thamel. But my ‘safa hawa’ app shows that the level of pollution is very high there. How can I avoid going there when I have to go there at any cost? Maybe you can say that I could go there with some safety measures. Is there any place in this capital city where people could go without sufficient safety measures against air pollution?

Why is this discrimination even in the air we breathe? If you can afford to install air purifiers at your home, you can breathe safe; otherwise you have to breathe toxic air. If you can afford to buy effective, surgical masks every day, you can inhale hygienic air; otherwise you have to breathe toxic air. And now, if you can afford to buy an android phone, you can avoid the pollution; otherwise you have to breathe toxic air. This is when being poor really hurts.

Another thing I fear now-a-days is – one day people might start selling the portable oxygen bottles, which we have not seen till date only because somebody has not discovered it yet, and that will be a new business in this city. Like the water bottle business, as is going on in the second richest country in the world in terms of water resources.


 

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The EPI Report and misunderstanding between #Air Quality and #Air pollution in Nepal

Last week, researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities published a report; the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) report, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranking 180 countries. The ranking is based on Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality of each of those countries. The environmental health topic covers three issue categories namely Air quality, Water quality and Heavy metals and the ecosystem vitality topic covers seven issue categories namely Biodiversity and habitat, Forests, Fisheries, Climate and energy, Air pollution, Water resources and  Agriculture; hence a total of ten issue categories. Each of these ten issue categories is, in turn, scored based on one to six performance indicators and there are altogether 24 such indicators.

It is not that the air pollution is the highest in Nepal but that the air quality is the worst

After the report got published, Nepalese media published news stating that Nepal ranks 176th among 180 countries in terms of air pollution. Some ‘mainstream’ called media too published news stating the same. They further stated air pollution as a leading environmental threat to public health. The press release by Yale has clearly stated that air quality is the top environmental threat to public health, not air pollution as most of the news reports in Nepal wrote. They did not note the distinction between air quality and air pollution and wrongly transliterated air quality as air pollution. No doubt that Nepal is ranked at the bottom (180th country) in terms of air quality with a score of 3.94. But the rank of Nepal in terms of air pollution is 87 with a score of 49.58 and the overall EPI rank is 176 with a score of 31.44. (See country report/Nepal)

The performance indicators of air pollution in this study include Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions and Nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions whereas performance indicators of air quality include (Particulate Matters of less than 2.5-micrometer diameter) PM2.5 exposure, PM2.5 exceedance and household solid fuels. The level of PM2.5 we have been hearing generally and exclaiming air pollution level in Kathmandu is the indicator of air quality, not air pollution in this study.

In a nutshell, it is not that the air pollution is the highest in Nepal but that the air quality is the worst.

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Nature khabar

News published in Nature Khabar. They deleted the news after the comment.

 

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News in Kathmandu Post stating AIR POLLUTION as the leading public health threat, citing the EPI report.

 

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News in PHP Nepal copied from the Kathmandu Post.

 

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No clear message in Republica.

 

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AIR QUALITY is the top public health threat according to Yale, not AIR POLLUTION

 

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News in Kantipur daily. I commented but they did not think that it needs to be corrected.

 

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My long comment for the news in the Kantipur daily. They approved the comment but did not correct the news/information.