The Nepali government has finally admitted that the state-run Himal cement factory in Kathmandu is a major polluter. The factory will now be fitted with pulse jet filters and filter bags to trap the huge quantities of dust that it emits, according to a Panos report. Once this equipment is in place, emission from the factory's chimney and crusher will be reduced from 3 tonnes daily to just 60 kg.
Germany, which had provided a generous $10.54 million for a study of the factory's pollution levels, is being tapped for further grants to install the equipment.
Trips to Pakistan are likely to be more difficult in the future. The country's director general of health, Nek Mohammad Sheikh, has proposed that foreign visitors verify themselves as non-hiv carriers before entering the country. He says that the time has come to modify superannuated health rules, which date back to the late '60s and early '70s.
Karachi has the highest blood lead level among 20 of the largest cities in the world, indicates a World Health Organisation/United Nations Environment Programme study. The study found blood lead levels to be .332 milligramme/litre (mg/l) in Karachi school children, .392 mg/l among mentally retarded children and adults, and .466 mg/l among traffic policepersons, says a Panos report. In comparison, the highest acceptable limit in the European Community is .2 mg/l.