The reduction of vehicular emission due to the COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned the air over Nepal and northern India. So much so that the Himalaya is visible from Chandigarh, Kangchenjunga is visible from Siliguri. And for the first time in many years, Mt Everest can be seen again from Kathmandu Valley even though it is 200km away.
Despite the sharp reduction in fossil fuel consumption due to restricted mobility, air quality of Kathmandu did not improve as much as expected in April. The reason was wildfires in Dhading, Nuwakot and Chitwan in early April and open garbage burning in the Valley, as well as crossborder haze.
Nepal lockdown proves air quality can be improved, Sonia Awale
The lockdown, however, did prove that we can improve Kathmandu’s air quality by reducing vehicular emissions, which contribute 70% of the particulates in the ambient air.
These breathtaking images were taken from Chobar in Kathmandu Valley on 10 May on a remarkably clear evening.
All photos: Abhushan Gautam