Air pollution accounted for 6.7 million deaths globally, 2.1 million in South Asia, and nearly 42,100 deaths in Nepal in 2019 alone. Nepal ranks among the top 10 countries with the highest PM2.5 concentrations (harmful particles less than 2.5 microns suspended in the air). Bangladesh, India and Pakistan also made the cut.
The report says that 100% of the population in India lives in areas where PM2.5 levels are higher than the WHO Air Quality Guideline. Nepal is not far behind with 98% of its people living in such areas.
The report, a collaboration between the Boston-based Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation comes as the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 116,000 lives in India and 765 in Nepal. Pollution and SARS-Cov-2 both affect the respiratory tract and lead to pneumonia. In fact, patients with pre-existing heart and lung disease are at high risk of coronavirus infection.
On Wednesday, there were a total of 44,476 active cases after an additional 5,743 positives with Kathmandu Valley alone reporting 3,107 of them. With 2,996 discharged in the last 24 hours, the recovery rate now stands at 68.7%. There are a total of 269 patients in ICU and 87 on ventilator support. Bagmati province accounts for the most of them, 152 in ICU and 59 on ventilator.