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Safa Hawa app launched to provide hourly air quality of Valley

Gorkha Post



KATHMANDU — A new mobile application, Safa Hawa, has been launched to provide information regarding the current hourly updates on the quality of air prevailing in different areas of the city.

The US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz and Department of Environment (DoE) Director General Durga Prasad Dawadi have jointly launched the app on Thursday.

Developed by Bidhee Pvt Ltd with the support of the US Embassy in Nepal, Safa Hawa app users will receive information on PM 2.5 and ozone content recorded by two air-quality monitoring stations — one installed at the US Embassy premise another in Thamel.

Users can download the free app, available for both iOS and Android platforms in Nepali and English languages. It will update air-quality details every hour and send notifications and share health tips too, according to the developer.

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Ambassador Teplitz, speaking at the launch event, said the app would accelerate the move for the healthier Kathmandu, especially at the time when South Asian countries like Nepal struggle with severe air-pollution issues.

“Even without the necessary studies and data, everyone knows Kathmandu’s air quality is bad. We can see it and feel it almost every day. The questions are: How bad is it? And more importantly: What can we do about it?” she said.

Ambassador Teplitz further said that country’s poor air affects not only the health of citizens, but also other sectors like business and tourism. She hoped the information on air through the app would help the government deal with the deteriorating quality of air in the country, mainly in Kathmandu Valley.

Likewise, the DoE DG Durga Prasad Dawadi hoped the mobile application would soon disseminate data collected from all the air-quality monitoring stations of the government.

The global Environmental Performance Index (EPI), released in January, ranked Nepal last for the quality of air among 180 countries.

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Science & Technology

NASA’s Parker spacecraft rockets toward sun for closest look

AP Associated Press




CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA has launched a spacecraft to the sun which will fly closer to our star than anything ever sent before. The Parker Solar Probe rocketed away from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Sunday.

The spacecraft is on an unprecedented quest that will take it straight through the wispy edges of the corona, or outer solar atmosphere, just 3.8 million (6 million kilometers) from the sun’s surface that was visible during last August’s total solar eclipse.

It will eventually stay comfortably cool despite the extreme heat and radiation allowing scientists to vicariously explore the sun in a way never before possible.

Saturday morning’s launch attempt was foiled by last-minute technical trouble and postponed by a day.

But what better day to launch to the sun than Sunday, as NASA noted.

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“Fly baby girl, fly!!” project scientist Nicola Fox of Johns Hopkins University tweeted just before lift-off. She urged it to “go touch the sun!”

“All I can say is, ‘Wow, here we go.’ We’re in for some learning over the next several years,” said Eugene Parker, the 91-year-old astrophysicist for whom the spacecraft is named.

It was the first time NASA named a spacecraft after someone still alive, and Parker wasn’t about to let it take off without him.

Thousands of spectators jammed the launch site in the middle of the night as well as surrounding towns, including Parker and his family.

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