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Activist lay dead in front of Rastriya Sabhagriha demanding Clean Air

More than 200 activists, students, environmental campaigners, cyclist and pedestrian symbolically laid dead on the ground demanding urgent action to the government of Nepal. Campaign started off with a flash mob and everybody joined them and laid dead to demand immediate action and ensure the constitutional right to live in a healthy and clean environment as stated in Article 30 in the Constitution of Nepal 2072.

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Protesters in Nepal fighting for clean air.

According to Yale University Environment Performance Index (EPI) 2016, (http://epi.yale.edu) Nepal is ranked 149 among 180 countries. If we only consider air quality, Nepal is ranked 177. Cities around the world including our neighboring countries are taking stringent action to improve air quality; however we are yet to prioritize air pollution as major public health issues and act accordingly.

Shreni Rajbhandary organizer of the event told that they urge “government to declare Kathmandu Valley a ‘Mask-Must Zone’.”

Akash Shrestha one of the campaigner said “World Health Organization (WHO) 2016 air quality report have listed Kathmandu one of the most polluted city in the world and air quality of Kathmandu is five times worse than WHO recommended guidelines. They have started the #Maskmandu campaign and will continue the campaign until air quality in Kathmandu comes down as per the National Air Quality Standards”.

Campaigners demanded :

  • Formulate ‘Comprehensive Clean Air Action Plan’ under urgent, mid-term and long term strategy and legal measures such as ‘Clean Air Act’ to address this serious air pollution.
  • Take immediate action to install air pollution monitoring stations in key locations of Kathmandu valley
  • Devise stringent vehicle emission standard, enforcement of green sticker provision and take polluting vehicles off the road.
  • Upgrade the fuel standard including provision of cleaner fuel, and mandatory provision to use emission control technologies especially in diesel vehicles.
  • Promote non-motorized transport system by building safer infrastructures for walking and cycling, and introduce environment-friendly, efficient and affordable mass transit to ensure sustainable urban mobility in Kathmandu Valley.
  • Follow proper environment management plan and take strict action against contractors for delayed road construction to address dust pollution from road construction activities.
  • Devise plans and take urgent action to reduce pollution industries especially from brick kilns and usage of diesel generators, and Ban open solid waste burning practices.
  • Pollution tax raised from petroleum has remained unspent. We ask government to mobilize pollution tax immediately on air pollution mitigation activities and on implementing ‘Clean Air Action Plan’. We also request to invest the increased tax on fuel to be invested in mass public transport system, and make pollution industries and vehicles to pay their fair share for contributing to air pollution

Campaign for Clean Air Rights(C-CAR) is a campaign led by 21 organizations. Members of Campaign handed the petition to the Ministry of Environment and Population during the official environment day cycle rally event of the government. The online petition has reached 1030 with additional 150+ petitioners on paper. The petition will be submitted to Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Health, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and all Municipalities in Kathmandu Valley, this week.

See the petition here.

Sagarika Bhatta

About Sagarika Bhatta