The view from Champadevi hill. An afternoon thunderstorm has just washed Kathmandu Valley's atmosphere, with only the Chobar cement factory's chimney plume indicating that all is not well.
The Morning After5 May 1994, 9:30 am
both pictures, RAJIV CHANDRA
The lethal air within this cauldron is what Kathmandu's inhabitants breathe during much of the winter. Temperature inversion keeps the atmosphere socked in, allowing the dust, smoke and gases from industries, brick kilns, motor vehicles, and constructions to generate a witch's brew. The smog could be mistaken for Kathmandu's winter fog, but it is already late in spring.
HIMAL January/February 1995
In the lean months, the Bagmati is just a sewer. Its flow is so diminished at the Aryaghat cremation grounds that the ashes, spent firewood, and flowers from funeral pyres do not even make it downstream.
Vikram Tempos. As the three wheelers make their rounds,
they breathe in carbon-laden deisel exhaust as well as the
dust and gases of Kathmandu's busiest thoroughfares.
Very narrow, mere lanes iti fact; and.-the whole town iavery dirty. Inevery lane there is a stagnant ditch, full of putrid mud, and no attempt is eveir made to clean these thoroughly. Thestreets,it is true, are sweptin the centre, and part ^fthefilthfc carried'offby the sellers ofmanure; fcuttodean the draws would nowteimpQSsiblewith out knockiiigdowntheentiirecity^asthewholegrourid issaturatedwithfiltTi... Thehousesare generally built in the form of hollow sqttarts, opening off the streets bylow doorways; andthese eetitral courtyards are l^ of ten only receptacles for rubbish of every sort. In short, from a saw tary point of view, Kathmandu may be said to be built on a dunghill in themiddle of latrines.