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Symposium with local government representatives on air pollution management in Kathmandu Valley held:

 On 19 November 2020, Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), Department of Environment (DoEnv), World Health Organization (WHO), Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN) and Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) jointly organized a “Symposium with local government representatives on air pollution management in Kathmandu Valley” via zoom platform. The main objective of this symposium was to discuss the problem of air pollution and its health effects among the representatives of municipalities and addressing the problem of air pollution from their level in the Kathmandu Valley. It was organized under Urban Health Initiative (UHI) as knowledge sharing event with support from WHO. The program focused on the immediate implementation of Kathmandu Air Quality Management Action Plan, 2076 from the local level. Around 80 participants joined the program including the Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Chiefs of Environment Sections and health officials of local governments of Kathmandu Valley, senior officials from MoHP, DoEnv, WHO, Academician and Journalists through Zoom and Facebook live. Senior management from MoHP, WHO, MuAN & DoEnv delivered their remarks on the program and technical presentations were delivered by DoEnv and CEN. The program was moderated by the Board Chair of CEN, Mr. Bhushan Tuladhar. Chief of Health Coordination Division from MoHP, Prof. Dr. Jageshwor Gautam delivered welcome remarks where he talked about the sources of air pollution, degrading air quality of the valley during winter and the interlinkage of air pollution and COVID-19. Dr. Gautam briefly shared about the efforts of the government of Nepal and municipalities to curb air pollution and concluded his remark saying that: “we must take a holistic and integrated approach to minimize air pollution engaging all the concerned stakeholders.” Public Health Administrator for the Country Office of WHO in Nepal, Dr. Khurshid Alam Hyder said that air pollution is one of the emerging health and environment issues. The quality of air that we breathe is not healthy and exceeds almost five times the WHO recommended value. KMC and LMC have already committed to maintain the air quality within the WHO guideline by joining the BreatheLife campaign. WHO has been providing technical support to minimize health impacts of air pollution through research studies and capacity building and will continue so in implementing air quality management action plan. Mayor of Dhulikhel Municipality and also the President of MuAN said that “integrated planning and effective coordination among all the local governments of Kathmandu Valley is inevitable to control air pollution including maintaining environmental sanitation in the Valley. The GoN has collected funds by charging pollution tax on the petroleum products, this should be immediately utilized to control environmental problems including air pollution, he concluded” Two presentations were delivered in the program from CEN and DoEnv. The first presentation Delivered by Prof. Sanjay Nath Khanal highlighted the causes and scenario of air pollution in Kathmandu Valley by taking reference of latest research findings and suggested the possible measures which can contribute to control air pollution. The second presentation delivered by Mr. Indu Bikram Joshi, DDG of DoEnv and he highlighted the key features of Kathmandu Valley Air Quality Management Action Plan, 2076 and the role of different stakeholders including the Local Government of the Valley. Mayors and Deputy Mayors of different municipalities shared their remarks in the program where they shared about the problem they are facing and the key initiatives they have taken forward to control air pollution at the local level. They also highlighted the need of technical and financial resources required for the local level to initiate programs focusing on air pollution including other environmental problems in the Valley and stressed the need of effective coordination among all local governments including the federal and provincial government. Participants representing various backgrounds shared their remarks and queries in the program which were addressed by the speakers and moderators of the program. DG of DoEnv, Mr. Mukunda Prasad Niraula delivered closing remark in the program and Board Chair of CEN, Mr. Bhushan Tuladhar summarized the discussion at the end of the program.

 

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