From: Smriti Mallapaty
Published December 13, 2012 06:32 AM

Nepal, Bhutan to assess air pollutants

The Himalayan countries of Nepal and Bhutan will, in 2013, have two permanent air monitoring observatories set up by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) as part of a programme to reduce black carbon and other short-lived climate-forcing pollutants (SLCPs). 

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There has been increasing international attention on SLCPs — small particles and gases like black carbon, methane, and ozone — because of their warming effect on climate. Acting in decades — rather than the centuries taken by greenhouse gases like carbon di-oxide — SLCPs negatively impact human health and agricultural output.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition, launched by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2011 to reduce SLCPs, has now grown to 33 member-countries.

"Some of the most important gaps (in atmospheric monitoring) are in the middle hill areas of the central and eastern Himalayas, in Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan," explained Arnico Panday, lead atmospheric scientist at ICIMOD.

Panday said there is "very little ongoing monitoring" between the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur's station, at 120 metres above sea level, and an observatory at the base of Mount Everest at 5,079 metros.

Nepal photo via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate, SciDevNet.

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