Clean Energy

World Environment Day: Time for Strong Clean Air Act

It is fifth day of June and the world celebrates “World Environment Day”.  For a poor country, environment comes far behind in priority. Hunger, health, clothing, education and infrastructures are the main priorities for the country like Nepal. Saying that, it doesn’t mean environment should be overshadowed by other priorities.
Today let’s think our development, putting environment in priority!
We might have been poor (partly) because we manage our environment so poorly.  I understand environment alone do not govern the whole “strong economy” factor, but to some extent, good environment managing countries are the happiest countries in the world.
Let me illustrate it simply, if we have clean air, then people wouldn’t suffer as prone to diseases like Tuberculosis and cancer. It would save a lot of money and importantly it would save people. Poverty is why we have to die. So, if state can guarantee clean air, poverty would reduce much.
What needs to be included in Clean Air Act
Control of Indoor air pollution
WHO says, nearly two million people in the world die with the disease attributed to indoor air pollution and half of them are due to pneumonia.  In Nepal, 75 % of total population spend three to five hours a day in proximity to Cook-stoves and annual death toll caused by indoor air pollution is 8000 where most of them are women and children. It is also responsible for about 2.7 % of the national burden of disease annually (ekantipur.com). Clean air act has to come to guarantee smoke free kitchen and save thousands of life in rural areas of Nepal.
Control of Second hand smoke
Second hand smoke control rules has been  discussed and called time and again in Nepal  but in a very feeble way. For twice, Home ministry has called people not to smoke in public areas. In fact by law, it is prohibited to smoke in public areas but the implementation and control part has always  been poor.  It is now time to bring a strict law for the ban  of smoking in public areas.
Control of Air pollution by transportation
Do we feel good if a bus throws a pool of smoke on your face while we are walking on sideways? No. Don’t we feel like yelling at bus and call the police to say “This bus is harming my health, this has to be punished”. Yes, we all want that . We all want to breathe fresh. We want those old vehicles be dumped forever in scrap. Unfortunately, we don’t have that law here, and everyday we are compelled to breathe poison and watch whatever happens to us.
We need a law to control air pollution by transportation. More importantly, we need a law to discourage transportation with fossil fuels and encourage clean transportation like bicycle, electric vehicles and pool transportation.
Control of Industrial air pollution

 

We have very few industries but whatever we have, most of them seem no or less responsible to the environment. Especially, cement factories, Iron factories and brick factories in Nepal seem main culprits to air pollution by industries. In one hand the factory workers are directly affected by the pollution in industries while in other hand the residents near and around factories are compelled to breathe polluted air. So,  government and industries should urgently initiate to control pollution and maintain the emission to acceptable level.

Prakash Acharya is an entrepreneur from Nepal, passionately working to substitute fossil fuels with clean energy technologies. He co-founds Mukti Energy, a solar energy company providing a one-stop solution in the sector. He is also a big believer in change so he advocates and works for creating impact in society. His topics of interest spans from sustainability, zero energy, poverty reduction, sociology to smart city. He graduated from Institute of Engineering, Thapathali Campus on Industrial engineering. He is also a former assistant lecturer in IOE, Thapathali . Prakash is a fellow for Social Entrepreneurship Outreach Program 2014, Social Entrepreneurship Forum Sweden.

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