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Smoke canopies Nepal as wildfire engulfs 54 districts

ANI | Updated: Mar 26, 2021 21:20 IST

Kathmandu [Nepal], March 26 (ANI): A thick layer of smoke canopied the Nepali capital Kathmandu and other cities on Friday as 54 districts throughout the nation reported wildfires.
As per the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD), a total of 54 districts now is engulfed by a forest fire which is emitting smoke into the airspace of the Himalayan Nation that has resulted in a dip in the Air Quality Index (AQI).
As per the MFD, there are a total of 54 districts in Nepal which now is engulfed by wildfire amongst which Chitwan, Parsa, Bara and Makwanpur are severely affected.
Throughout Friday afternoon, Air Quality Index of Kathmandu remained hazardous with Pm 2.5 index standing at 303.89mg/m3. People of the federal capital of the Himalayan Nation were experiencing teary eyes, shortness of breath and even a drop in visibility while driving.
"I am experiencing shortness of breath while walking too and my eyes are burning with tears rolling down timely due to the smoke," Subash Shrestha, one of the residents of Kathmandu told ANI.
As per the hourly Air Quality Data collected from 17 pollution monitoring stations set up in various locations of Kathmandu Valley, the AQI started to deteriorate from midnight.

The flights--both domestic and international--were either kept on hold, diverted, and in some cases, were cancelled as the International Airport in Kathmandu was forced to be closed for about four hours due to a drop in visibility.
"Weather of Kathmandu is shrouded with thick layer of smog and smoke, it has made us difficult to breathe and even see things around, it has made quite uneasy for me to carry out my daily chores," Aarogya Gyawali, a resident of Kathmandu complained.
"Concerned authorities need to pay more attention to the issue of increasing pollution. They should adopt proper measures such as afforestation or any other way which would decrease the pollutants in the atmosphere, it really has made our life tough and harder," Gyawali added.
With this drop in the AQI, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) of the Himalayan Nation later in the evening issued a release requesting people not to come out of home unless necessary as the pollution levels have increased in major cities of the nation.
The Ministry has asked people to avoid outdoor exercises or training till a reduction in pollution levels which already has started threatening the health condition of people. It has also asked people to stop going out for a morning walk for the next few days.
"The construction activities and business that tend to add to air pollution, such activities could be started after a few days by adopting measures to minimize pollution," the MoHP notice says.
Further, it has discouraged burning waste and driving vehicles in order to minimize air pollution.In case people have to get out of their houses, it has encouraged wearing face mask and following the COVID-19 safety protocols. (ANI)