Himalayan News Service: The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers is set to launch an initiative to reduce air pollution at the Lumbini World Heritage Site.
A high-level meeting held under Bhola Prasad Siwakoti, acting secretary of the OPMCM, has submitted a five-point strategy to tackle air pollution in the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, a source said. The move came after the Centre for Public Health and Environmental Development wrote to the government, pointing at an alarming level of environmental pollution in the heritage site.
According to a study that Indian scientists had conducted in association with the World Health Organisation, air pollution in the heritage site exceeds the national standard. The PM25 (fine particle) at the Buddhist site is 270 µg/m3 against 40 µg/m3 set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standard of Nepal, 2012. Industrial activities and heavy and phased-out vehicles that transport raw materials and finished products of factories, especially cement factories, are mainly blamed for air pollution around the area. Air pollution has also caused problems to domestic and foreign tourists visiting the site.
The government has directed ministries concerned to ensure that all industries operating around the heritage site implement the industrial commitment to conserving the environment around the site.
It has also assured to expedite road repair, lane expansion and construction of roads passing through the Lumbini Area, and manage traffic to curb environmental pollution.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>