Regional Focus: A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)

Air pollution is a major environmental challenge in Southern Asia, one of the most polluted and heavily populated regions of the world. Yet the region is still under-researched.

The few available local and regional studies suggest that air pollution can have substantial harmful impacts on human health, crop productivity, the melting of mountain glaciers and snow packs, and income from tourism in Nepal. The Kathmandu Valley, where the capital city of Nepal is located, has significant levels of pollution but is of manageable size for potential interventions. At present, the limited knowledge of emissions, transport, and the removal of pollutants gained from previous studies hinders the quantification of these impacts in the Kathmandu Valley and the broader region. Although it is possible to identify several main sources of air pollutants, the proportional contributions of the various sources remain unknown. Without this information, it is not possible to design effective mitigation measures. This is why this region has been chosen as the site for an end-to-end case study of clean solutions.

The SusKat Approach (c) IASS/Sabine ZentekThe SusKat Approach (c) IASS/Sabine Zentek

SusKat aims to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley in a more integrated way, so that clean solutions are not only firmly grounded in sound science, but also adapted to local specifics. Therefore, the end-to-end study is expected to evolve through several phases to ensure that the implementation of activities first creates a much needed scientific basis and then transcends science to engage key players in supporting local implementation of mitigation measures.
 

Kathmandu and surrounding regions covered with regional haze that obscures the beautiful view of the Himalayas. Kathmandu and surrounding regions covered with regional haze that obscures the beautiful view of the Himalayas.

 

Kathmandu and surrounding regions on a clear day. Photos are courtesy of Bidya Pradhan and Pradeep Dangol, ICIMOD, Nepal.Kathmandu and surrounding regions on a clear day. Photos are courtesy of Bidya Pradhan and Pradeep Dangol, ICIMOD, Nepal.