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Today is World Environment Day and this year's focus is on beating air pollution. It's a major challenge as air pollution has been identified as one of the most important health issues of our time, causing 1 in 9 deaths around the world and causing millions of premature deaths each year.
Air pollution is something we care about at UMN and we are doing are part to help as we work with local churches, co-operatives and schools to plant trees and clean up the local environment together. Yet we remain challenged to do more as we see the negative impacts across the country.
In Nepal, air pollution is a growing concern in villages and cities. In rural places, indoor air pollution is an issue as traditional biomass is used for cooking and heating in homes and they often have poor ventilation. In the cities, outdoor air pollution is a big problem, in part due to an increasing number of vehicles in combination with crumbled and dusty roads. In recent years Nepal's air quality was reported as the worst in South Asia.
Air pollution is hurting people, as there are growing cases of bronchitis, asthma and eye infections. We also know that it puts people at a greater risk to develop health problems such as heart disease, strokes and lung cancer. The negative impact can also be seen in nature in Nepal, as air pollution in the cities makes it harder to see the beautiful mountains.
Despite these challenges, there is good news. Air pollution is preventable and there are many known solutions. From educating ourselves to using public transportation to planting trees - we can all do more and take steps to work together and improve air quality. Our lives depend on it. What will you do to beat air pollution?
What UMN is Doing to Take Care of the Environment
You can also check out this video from last year's World Environment Day to see the kind of things we are doing in our UMN office in Kathmandu to take care of the environment.