Fast urbanization and air pollution in Kathmandu (Nepal)
A small town home to only few hundred thousand people until 5 decades ago, Kathmandu is nowadays a metropolis of 3 million people. Without a proper urban planning in place, this urbanization process quickly ran out of control. The small Nepalese economy, landlocked and highly dependent on the two giant neighbours (India and China), struggled to put in place an efficient transport system and basic services for the fast-growing population.
'Out of Thin Air' focuses on the most pressing issues Kathmandu has to face as a consequence of this process: a severe detriment of its air quality due to the proliferation of private vehicles. Figures show that vehicles in Kathmandu are increasing at the staggering rate of 14% per year, 3 times faster then population. As a result, in the 2018 global Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Nepal ranked last in terms of air quality among the 180 countries listed.