The Kathmandu Post, 15 Jan 2018
Amid the public uproar against the government’s apathy towards tackling the worsening air quality in Kathmandu Valley, the Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the authorities concerned to act immediately for controlling air pollution.
A joint bench of Justices Deepak Raj Joshi and Cholendra Shumsher JBR has directed the government bodies concerned to limit dust and smokes emanating from various sources, which are major responsible agents for air pollution in the Valley.
Issuing a mandamus to the writ, the apex court has asked the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Population and Environment, the Ministry of Health, the Department of Environment, and 14 other government bodies, including municipalities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, to start construction works only after making proper arrangements for controlling dust and smoke at the construction sites.
The court has also asked the government to properly manage the waste materials produced from these sites and dumped alongside the road, which obstructs vehicular movement and also causes environmental pollution.
According to the advocate Padam Bahadur Shrestha, who has filed the writ, the decision was necessary to make government responsible at the time when public health is at the greater risk.
“The air quality of Kathmandu Valley has been deteriorating for worse for last few years. However, no tangible actions seem to be taken by concerned bodies, which is evident as air quality continues to get worse even this year,” said Shrestha
The SC has also ordered for effective implementation of government’s standards of vehicle emissions and ensuring air quality standards for keeping the air cleaner for public. The joint operation being conducted by Department of Transport Management, Department of Environment and Metropolitan Police Traffic Division (MTPD) has shown that nearly half of the vehicles weren’t in compliance with emission standards.
Similar to previous years, the air has been of poor quality inside the Kathmandu Valley this winter as well. Smokes from vehicle emissions and brick kilns are said to be the main agents of air pollution in the Valley.