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School kids among most affected



KATHMANDU: A research conducted by Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) has attributed air pollution as the major cause of respiratory health problems among school children in Kathmandu.

The research on ‘impacts of particulate air pollutants on respiratory health of school children in Kathmandu Valley’shows that about 30 per cent school children are suffering from respiratory health problems such as sneezing and runny nose even without suffering from cold or flu.

According to NHRC senior research officer Krishna Aryal, people experience unnatural sneezing and runny nose due to atmospheric pollutants, particularly the fine particles.

A total of 801 school students aged between 9 to 15 were examined during the research conducted between July 2011 to June 2012.

The students from six different schools in the Valley had participated in the research.

They were namely Green Village School, Kirtipur; Jaycees Secondary School, Bhaktapur ; Magnus English School , Matsyagaun ; Netpune English School, Putalisadak ; St Xaviers School , Jawalakhel ; and Santaneshwor Vidya Mandir, Chapagaun.

Vehicular emission, industries such as brick kilns and poorly maintained roads are the major sources of air pollution, the study said.

Long-term exposure to air pollution decreases lung functions and causes chronic bronchitis, premature deaths and heart attacks.

“Children are more susceptible to harmful particles than adults because of the higher relative concentration of particles in smaller lungs,” said Aryal.

The mean PM2.5 concentration is quite high in both urban and semi-urban residential schools and could have a great impact on the overall health status of people, especially children.

“We have recommended that the government promote green belt around schools,” said research officers, urging the government to implement air pollution control measures with high priority.

The report has recommended that the government revive air quality monitoring stations for regular monitoring of air pollutants.

They have further suggested that the government formulate and implement the Clean Air Act as a comprehensive approach to combat the threat of air pollution.

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