The smog covered Kathmandu is aptly named ‘Dhulomandu.’
These are the things that I personally do to combat while traveling on the dusty roads of Kathmandu. Feel free to share your tips and tricks. I do not step out of the house without a mask; I become prone to common cold and itchy throats real soon. Even a thought of a fun-filled bike ride, where a cool breeze touches your face, vanishes when you think of the dusty roads of Kathmandu.
When traveling by a two-wheeler as a pillion I swear by a mask. I use a surgical mask then use a shawl to cover my face and head except for my eyes. This way I save my hair too. Yes, I transform my shawl into a balaclava. I agree I don’t look less than a dacoit in a mission, but it’s the need of the hour. By now, I have mastered the art of wrapping my face and tresses with a shawl; (Wondering if it is something to gush about).
Masks with filters are available that claim to filter pollutants. The price range of the masks with filters ranges from a few thousands. If you want, check out the link of Clean Air Nepal, to get an idea about masks with filters; but to clarify, this is not a promotional link!
If you already have been using masks with filters, do comment and share its effectiveness? Well, I am considering switching to masks with filters so your thoughts are appreciated! Your eyes need protection from the floating dust particles in the air. So, make a point to cover your eyes with sunglasses. If you use power glasses, you can stick to that.
When traveling by a four-wheeler I mostly use a surgical mask. Whether to wrap my face with a shawl or not, depends on the place I am traveling. However, I always carry a shawl just in case I need it.
Do not step out of the house with wet hair. Your damp hair attracts dust significantly more. Sometimes I wonder; what’s the point of taking a shower when you will be receiving one with a gust of dust; upon reaching the main road. (I make a point to stick by this tip but mostly fail to comply.)
I always carry a hand sanitizer with me. It not only keeps your hands germless but a person with an eyesight problem can use it to clean a pair of glasses. Squeeze a small amount of hand sanitizer on your spectacles and wipe it with a clean cloth. You can instantly see the world around you better!
It’s a real problem when you feel dressy and want to apply make-up. The thought of the dusty roads of Kathmandu compels me to ward off that thought. I keep wondering which road they walk who stroll wearing beautiful makeup. (optional para)
The credit of increasing air pollution in Kathmandu goes to the toxic gas emitting vehicles, the eternal Melamchi project, road extensions, and industries operating inside Kathmandu.
There was a time when masks were unheard of but now you cannot step out without one. Times are changing but I have not left the hope of the situation getting better in the future. All we need is being self-conscious and keep raising our voice for the right cause together.