The International study for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) along with National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) has founded the ‘Chitwan National Park Air Quality Observatory’ to observe the impact of air pollution on the outskirts of the national Park in order to monitor the effect of air pollution on biodiversity and ecosystems. The station was inaugurated on 26 December, 2015 by the Hon. Agni Prasad Sapkota, Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation. The station is established inside the premises of NTNC.
Minister Sapkota said that any work on conservation and scientific research, including the data generated from the Air Quality Observatory, must be translated into improved livelihoods for the marginalized and vulnerable, who depend on forest resources. He thanked ICIMOD, the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation and NTNC for the initiation for the very first time in Nepal.
Mr Uday Chandra Thakur, the Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, said that the Air Quality Observatory is the early alerting system for our environment. Dr. Molden, the Director General of ICIMOD, talked about the necessity of establishing the air controlling station inside the national park which is also enlisted as a world heritage property. He added that the station will generate useful carbon data for REDD+ and link this data with the impact of air pollution on the ecosystem of the national park. He also mentioned that open fires and agriculture field burning are few of the main sources of black carbon and interventions can be designed to diminish these.
WWF Conservation Director Dr Ghana Gurung said that “such scientific data can be a scientific basis for improving conservation science and the management of the park”.
The data generated from the observatory will aid Chitwan National Park in REDD’s readiness phase and in development of conservation science for the park and its outskirts. The observatory was set by ICIMOD on collaboratino with NTNC under ICIMOD’s REDD and Atmosphere initiatives. The Atomosphere initiatives have been working actively with the Department of Environment to design a long term air quality monitoring network for the country. It has even proposed list of places where the station needs to be setup. Sites were selected based on a number of criteria including human population, as well as vulnerable ecosystems and heritage. Chitwan National Park was listed as a high priority place for such a station.
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