New cellphone app to update city air qualityA new application will give Nepali cellphone users hourly updates on the quality of air prevailing in different areas of the city.
A new application will give Nepali cellphone users hourly updates on the quality of air prevailing in different areas of the city.
The US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz and Department of Environment (DoE) Director General Durga Prasad Dawadi jointly launched the app called Safa Hawa here Thursday.
Safa Hawa app users will receive information on PM 2.5 and ozone content recorded by two air-quality monitoring stations. One is installed at the US Embassy premise and another in Thamel.
Bidhee Pvt Ltd has developed the app with the support of the US Embassy in Nepal.
Speaking at the launch event, Ambassador Teplitz said the app would accelerate the move for the healthier Kathmandu, especially at the time when South Asian countries like Nepal struggle with severe air-pollution issues.
Nepal has a major problem of air pollution. The global Environmental Performance Index (EPI), released in January, ranked Nepal last for the quality of air among 180 countries.
“Even without the necessary studies and data, everyone knows Kathmandu’s air quality is bad. We can see it and feel it almost every day. The questions are: How bad is it? And more importantly: What can we do about it?” she said, sharing results of various studies that expose the country’s air quality.
Ambassador Teplitz said country’s poor air affects not only the health of citizens, but also other sectors like business and tourism. She hoped the information on air through the app would help the government deal with the deteriorating quality of air in the country, mainly in Kathmandu Valley.
“We hope this knowledge would spread awareness, and that breathers - and policy-makers - can use this information to push for changes in policy that will make communities cleaner and healthier.
“Our goal for ‘Safa Hawa’ and the information it makes available is to help reduce the number of deaths and illness from air pollution and strengthen Nepal’s capacity to manage national health risks,” said the ambassador.
The DoE DG Durga Prasad Dawadi hoped the mobile application would soon disseminate data collected from all the air-quality monitoring stations of the government. Ten such government stations measure air quality in different parts of the country.
Users can download the free app, available for both iSO and Android platforms in Nepali and English languages. It will update air-quality details every hour. It will also send notifications and share health tips, the developer said.