The air quality measuring devices installed in 2017 and 2018 by the Nepal Study Center (NSC) and Pratiman Neema Memorial Foundation (PNMF) provide evidence that the air in Siddharthanagar municipality is highly polluted. There is currently a huge burden on the municipality to address the problem of air pollution, which has posed a serious threat to the public health and welfare. However, due to the lack of research, there is no ample understanding of the health effects of air pollution in the municipality. Additionally, there is no vivid understanding of public attitude towards improving the air quality in the municipality. In June 2019, a research team from UNM conducted a field study in Siddharthanagar municipality of Nepal. The study has three main objectives. First, it examines the health effects of exposure to air pollution based on proximity to pollution sources such as paved/unpaved roads, factories, etc. The study uses lung capacity as a biomarker of respiratory health. During the field survey, respondents’ lung capacity was measured using a device called Spirometer. Second, the study examines public preferences for air quality improvement in the municipality by estimating households’ willingness to pay for the improvement using the survey-based contingent valuation method. Third, the study estimates the economic cost of air pollution in Siddharthanagar municipality based on the expenditure on air pollution related illness treatment and the opportunity cost of illness measured in terms of lost working days. We envision that the findings of this study will help policymakers in designing interventions and policies to address the problem of air pollution in the municipality.
Research Team Investigators and Collaborative Team: Project Team consisted of Dr. Alok K. Bohara (Professor, Department of Economics, UNM; Director, NSC), Mohammad Mashiur Rahman and Niraj Khatiwada (Doctoral students, Department of Economics, UNM). The project was funded by the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE), ICIMOD through our local collaborator, Pratiman Neema Memorial Foundation (PNMF). We acknowledge the support provided by our collaborating institution PNMF and its research team (Ms. Swati Thapa, Mr. Prakash Rayamajhi, Mr. Dharma K. C., Mr. Anup Poudel, and Sharada Pathak). We would also like to express our gratitude to our field supervisor (Mr. Krishna Neupane) and enumerators.