Ankita’s experience of understanding the impact of vehicle emission in air pollution

Featured | JULY 5 2019

This blog post is written by Ankita Karki, an Open Data Women Fellow 2019

The journey of Open Data Women Fellowship was one of the most amazing experiences for me. I accidentally stumbled upon the fellowship program through social media. I literally loved the concept of bringing together 10 women fellows and giving them the right exposure and work experience. Truthfully, I had recently come across the concept of open data and well, I came to realize it as a necessity for sustainable development in any field. I had many questions in my mind about open data and that’s when this opportunity came about at the right time. One of the activities that I was extremely excited was the half-day training in the 10 partner organization. As someone completely oblivious to tech and data, visit to host organization made me look into the field of data differently. Every day, I got the chance to encounter and listen to some of the most passionate people and their work towards creating an open data society. I felt each host organization were unique in their own way. I was truly inspired by their level of dedication and determination.

I was assigned at Clean Up Nepal for the one-month placement. My time with Clean Up Nepal was a unique experience altogether. I clearly remember my first day at the organization. I was extremely nervous and a little bit skeptical as to how I would perform in a working environment. However,  the office environment was completely different and laid back as compared to a conventional office environment. 

I was involved in the project “Strengthening Vehicle Emission and Inspection System through Increased Roadside Monitoring and Awareness”. My major responsibility was to work in sensitization of DoTM, MTPD staff, vehicle owners and the public to raise awareness and change mindsets in reference to increasing vehicle emissions. I was assigned to create infographics to make people effectively understand the contribution of vehicle emission in air pollution and its impact on human health which would be later displayed in digital hoarding boards at Local Traffic Units, Drivers Association and bus stand or parks.  In addition to that, I studied articles, reports on vehicular emission to compile baseline information for the project and created a presentation on the impacts of vehicular emissions. The visit to various host company made me competent enough to search and access data easily and use that data for visualization. I extracted data of registered vehicles, pollution level, health impacts of air pollution through various open data sources like Nepal in Data, Nep-stat, Open AQ etc. For visualization, I used Chartblocks and Data Wrapper to interpret patterns and trends in the data.

My experience with infographics was extremely minimal hence it was a challenge that I had to overcome myself. I took the help of various online sites and apps such as Canva, Piktochart to create my infographics. At first, I did find the work difficult but as I became familiar with ways to create infographic elements, I gained that confidence to put my best effort. Luckily, I was able to finish 3 infographics about vehicular emission and its impact on human health. 

Whilst I was doing my research on the impacts of vehicles, a sudden realization came to me as I started to observe the impacts of emission from the vehicles every day. As a rider, I am always subjected to tons of smoke emitted by other vehicles but my one month work on vehicular emission made me extremely conscious of the impact a vehicle can have in the quality of air and human health.  At the end of my internship, I pledged to become a responsible rider that will regularly maintain my vehicle and opt for public vehicles whenever I can. As the saying goes, “If you pollute the air today, it will pollute your lungs tomorrow”. I would like to take this opportunity to request anyone who owns a vehicle, to be a responsible rider by servicing their vehicles regularly and switching off their vehicle while idle.

Furthermore, I consider myself lucky as I got the chance to hike with Clean up Nepal team to Shivapuri National Park. In addition to that, as a farewell on my last day, (which was referred to as Ankita day) our dearest Azam Nathaniel hosted a biryani party at his house. The biryani was amazingly good and the company was even better. 

My aim was to gain as many skills and experience in data and technology during my internship. But it taught me something much more valuable and important in terms of life. I will always be grateful to each and every member of Clean Up Nepal as they embraced me and made me the happiest in the shortest period of time. I express my utmost gratitude to Open Knowledge Nepal and Clean Up Nepal for giving me the chance to be part of such an amazing journey. As for my future plans, I plan to pursue my studies abroad and I feel the experience gained through this fellowship will serve as a boost to take my career path towards a better future. To the future generation, I will like to tell you not to let others define what you are capable of doing and just follow the path you want to pursue.  If you are interested in data or technological aspects, I would definitely recommend this fellowship as it can be the turning point you need to find your way.