Air pollution was directly linked to at least 42,100 deaths in Nepal in 2019. Almost half of that was due to breathing in particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter which can cross the air blood barrier in the lung capillaries. Most of those particles come from vehicle emission.
From 1990 to 2015, the number of vehicless in Nepal grew by 1,995,404 — most of them in Kathmandu Valley. In five years, that figure doubled to 3,987,267.
This figure doesn’t include the exploding demand for cars and motorcycles after the end of the Covid second wave in mid-2021. Nepal spent Rs543 billion in importing vehicles, transport equipment and spare parts in four months from mid-July to mid-October, against Rs357 billion and Rs418 billion for the same periods in 2020 and 2019.
“There has been an unexpectedly high demand for private vehicles in Nepal after the pandemic, especially two wheelers given the public’s hesitancy to use buses due to coronavirus fears,” says Dhruba Thapa of the National Automotive Dealers Association.