The Bihar Post

How clean environment offers Bihar villagers majestic view of snow-capped Himalayan peaks from balconies, rooftops

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PATNA—So, how the clean environment helped residents from Singhwahini village in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district have a clear view of the majestic snow-capped Himalayan peak—first time in 40 years?

Environmentalists said they can’t confirm if it was really the Mount Everest visible in the photograph gone viral in the social media but the fact is that the air quality index across Bihar and around has dropped drastically, improving the air quality, removing haze and bringing the pollution level much down.

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“The air quality index (AQI) was 161.8 before lockdown, 194 on the day of Janata Curfew, 101.7 during the first phase of lockdown and 43.5 during the second phase of lockdown in Muzaffarpur,” Bihar State Pollution Control Board Chairman Ashok Kumar Ghosh said on Wednesday. Sitamarhi falls under Muzaffarpur division.

According to Ghosh AQI level till 50 falls in the “green category” but currently, “the air is completely clean”. Even in Patna, the AQI has fallen to 44.8, indicating the magnificent change in air quality.

“This has ended the haze and resulted in clear sky. Apparently, this was the reason the residents were able to get a clear view of the Himalayan peaks,” Ghosh explains.

“The pollution level has come down and air quality improved only because of lockdown but it is temporary. It many revert back to old level when the lockdown is lifted,” Ghosh added.

Villagers from Sitamarhi district in Bihar bordering Nepal currently have been able to get a clear view of the wide mountainous range of majestic Himalayas from their home as the sky has got clearer and pollution level came down as a result of 40 odd day-long nationwide lockdown enforced to break the Covid-19 chain.

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Himalayan peaks as visible from Forbesganj town in Araria district

There has been a mad scramble among residents of Singhwahini village to click the photographs of nature’s beauty in the form of snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and post them on the social media. The residents said they are able see the shining majestic Himalyan peaks well after four decades.

The photo shoot madness began after a local mukhiya (village council chief) from Singhwahini Gram Panchayat Ritu Jaiswal posted a photograph of what she claims the highest Himalayan peak of Mount Everest on twitter on Monday.

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“Today, we can see the Mount Everest from the roof of our houses. The Nature is balancing itself,” wrote Jaiswal on her Twitter handle. According to her, they had been routinely watching mountains close to Nepal after rains followed by a clear sky but they were able to view the real Himalayas for the first time in many years.

When confronted if what she claims is really the Mount Everest, she said with a firm yes. She said after properly verifying from the Google map, she can say with certainty that it is Mount Everest.

She added the people who grew up in the village too could able to see the mountain in the childhood till 80’s.

Jaiswal said the distant Himalayan peaks have become visible from the terrace or roofs of their village because of reduced emission of harmful gases in the atmosphere due to long spell of lockdown, making the sky clearer and bringing the pollution level drastically down.

Another Sitamarhi resident and nature lover Ram Sharan Agarwal said they were thrilled to see the snow-capped Himalayan peaks from their homes after a gap of 40 years.

“It is a wonderful experience to see Himalayan peaks from homes. We are able to see them after 40 years,” said 74-year-old Agarwal based in Sitamarhi.

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Himalayan peaks as visible from Valmiki Nagar town in West Chamaparan district

According to him, they could see the snow-capped Himalayan peaks looking pink during sunrise and sunset in between October to March every year till the 1975.

“Especially during sunset, it looked so beautiful that we can’t express our feelings in words but in later years, this vanished from our eyes due to blanket of pollution covering it,” Agarwal added.

According to him, what they are seeing now could be Cho Oyu, the westernmost major peak of the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalya 20 km west of Mount Everest. The mountain stands on the China-Nepal border.

Another resident 65-year-old Rambabu Prasad said they can’t believe they are seeing the Himalayas from their home. “I fail to believe Himalaya has come so closer to us. It was unbelievable to see the ‘King of Mountain’ from the balcony of my house,” Prasad said.

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