Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. Many striving students, middle-class families, elites, and people of various backgrounds from across the nation call the city home. The capital is not just a center for opportunity; for many Nepalese, it is also their ideal city. Kathmandu has the ideal climate because it is located in the center of the country. It’s not too cold or too hot. Kathmandu is one of the most earthquake-prone cities despite the climate being so ideal, and there is virtually little chance of landslides or floods here.

Being the most developed city in Nepal, Kathmandu is where many of us dream of living. But everyone is aware of how crowded and filthy Kathmandu is. Since Kathmandu is the country’s capital, its infrastructure—such as its systems of education, health care, transportation, and communication—is well developed. Because of this, Kathmandu has a large population. The lack of progress in other areas is the cause of this. People move to Kathmandu because of fewer facilities and possibilities in other parts of the country. Since then, Kathmandu has become one of the world’s most populous cities, not just in Nepal. With such a large population, the city must also have a large population.

However, rapid population growth, lack of infrastructure development, and ineffective policies have created numerous problems for its residents. We will discuss on Problems Nepali Living in Kathmandu faces. Hopefully, you will relate to this post if you reside in Kathmandu Valley and get informed about the situation in the capital if you reside in other cities of Nepal.


The population of Kathmandu is to blame for the pollution. It is unfortunate that Kathmandu is the most polluted city in the nation despite having the most educated population and being the city with the most advanced educational system. Developed nations have effective management systems; therefore, despite having a very high population, they have less pollution. But in Kathmandu, we have yet to learn that. Due to the extreme pollution, Kathmandu is the second most polluted city in Nepal.

Everywhere we go in the city, waste is piled up.

air pollution in kathmandu

Not just because the road is covered in so much dust and smoke, but you will get a throat infection later that day if you neglect your mask for the day. Kathmandu now goes by the name Dhulomandu due to the pollution.

Life-Threatening Levels of Air Pollution

Kathmandu has some of the worst air quality levels globally, exceeding WHO guidelines for safe levels by up to 20 times during winter. Vehicle emissions, biomass burning, construction dust, and industrial discharges create a toxic mix of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and black carbon. This pollution cuts average life expectancy by about 5 years. It is also linked to reduced lung function, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and even lung cancer.

The pollution hits hazardous levels, especially in the winter when temperature inversions trap smog over the Kathmandu Valley. The elderly, children and those with existing respiratory conditions are most at risk. With pollution expected to worsen as urbanization and energy demand increases, addressing this public health emergency is critical. Strict vehicle emission standards, switching to clean cooking fuels, better waste management, and heavy pollution industries relocation are some possible mitigation strategies.

Environmental Pollution

The problem is worse on dangerous roads. Riders and regular passengers find it very difficult to walk on dirt roads. People are developing significant lung and throat infections as a result of pollution.

Water Pollution

Not only that but how can we disregard the condition of the waterways in Kathmandu? Rivers have turned into dumping grounds for local household waste. The rivers are in such a condition that they can no longer carry all the rubbish they formerly did.

Despite all these issues, Kathmandu is a very beautiful city.

Failing Infrastructure Causing Daily Struggles

Kathmandu’s infrastructure fails to meet the needs of its over 1.5 million residents. Power outages are common, water supply is inadequate and sporadic, roads and buildings were left damaged after the 2015 earthquake, and internet connectivity is unreliable. This leads to daily struggles for access to basic amenities.

During the long hours without electricity every day, businesses grind to a halt, food spoils, and productivity drops. Families anxiously await the return of fans and lights during the sweltering summer months. The lack of a reliable water supply forces people to wake early to collect and store water. Damaged roads slow travel and transport while broken buildings pose safety risks. Poor internet connections disrupt work and education. Upgrading Kathmandu’s ailing infrastructure is essential for improving living conditions.

Price hike

Another important problem in Kathmandu is the price increase. Raising a family in Kathmandu is incredibly challenging because everything is so pricey. Everything in Kathmandu is incredibly expensive, from necessities like health care, transportation, and education to everyday items like food and clothing. When you visit the hospital, glancing at the bills makes you feel worse. Your income is insufficient to cover the costs of your child’s education. Additionally, daily necessities cost more money every day. With less than 500 rupees, you cannot purchase enough vegetables to last a whole day.

Consumption of clothing and food has decreased recently as a result of the price increase. In Kathmandu, acquiring any service is quite expensive. I also wonder how folks who rent apartments here manage things. They have to pay their own bills on top of the high rents and living expenses. For families and individuals, it is extremely difficult to be in such a situation to live in Kathmandu.

Notorious Traffic Congestion

traffic congestion in Kathmandu

Given the population, it is no surprise that traffic is crowded. Every day accidents on busy highways increase, and traffic jams are another issue. When we talk about traffic, Kalanki is the first place that comes to mind, but thankfully, that problem has been resolved thanks to the building of a new road. However, Kathmandu’s traffic congestion problem continues to be a major one.
With this amount of overcrowding, it is impossible to arrive somewhere on time. Just picture riding a bike in this heat, the pollution, and the traffic. It’s the worst feeling ever. In Kathmandu, traffic problems are such a major problem that we need to address them right away. The implementation of a new road management approach has helped Kathmandu’s traffic issues to some level compared to earlier days, but it is still insufficient.

What’s worse is getting caught in a traffic jam while you need to do a crucial activity. This happened to me once. I was five minutes late to the exam room when I had board exams because of a terrible traffic delay. There are a lot of people who experience the same issue daily, like me.

Kathmandu is notorious for its relentless traffic jams with over 1 million vehicles crammed into inadequate road infrastructure built for just 100,000 vehicles. Unplanned urban development and rapid motorization have created near-permanent gridlocks exacerbated by encroachments, improper parking, poor traffic management, and lack of public transport investment.

Commutes that should take 10 minutes end up taking over an hour. Transport costs have skyrocketed as vehicles are stuck burning fuel in crawling traffic emitting toxic fumes. Limited road space leaves little room for pedestrians while disabled access and public transport services remain woefully inadequate. Solving Kathmandu’s traffic problems requires integrated land use and transport planning including mass transit development, traffic engineering solutions, pedestrianization and behavioral change.

Shortage of drinking water

Water shortage is another significant issue in Kathmandu. Due to the large population, fighting for basic necessities like clean drinking water is necessary. The drinking water project in Melamchi was completed in 2021. Hopefully, the project will allow access to clean drinking water for the people of Kathmandu.

Shortage of drinking water

People can’t depend on just KUKL for their drinking water needs, so people look for other ways. They buy water from other suppliers. They are compelled to buy water at high prices because KUKL can’t supply enough water for their need. The problem especially exists in most urban cities in Kathmandu. We can see people fighting for drops of water on roads. All the Dhugedhara and public taps have also no water supply these days. They are just dry and in pathetic condition. Drinking water shortage is definitely a very big issue for Nepalese living in Kathmandu.

Overburdened Healthcare System with Inequities in Access

Kathmandu has seen healthcare infrastructure expansion recently but the system remains overburdened and inequitable. While the city has state-of-the-art private hospitals, critical shortages of staff, equipment, and drugs persist in public facilities. Rural migrants and marginalized groups often cannot afford expensive private healthcare and face discrimination in accessing state services.

With just 1 doctor per 1700 population, specialized healthcare is limited. Government healthcare spending is insufficient and out-of-pocket expenditure is high, risking many families with catastrophic costs. Addressing underlying social determinants of health including poverty, poor sanitation, and malnutrition is also key to improving wellbeing. Health system reform necessitates increased public spending, ending social exclusion to healthcare access, and adopting a holistic primary healthcare approach focused on prevention.


While the vibrancy and economic opportunities of Kathmandu continue to attract migrants, critical infrastructure deficits, extreme pollution, lack of urban planning, and public services access have lowered living standards. Tackling these pressing issues through sustainable infrastructure development, environmental policies, governance reform, and social inclusion initiatives is vital to restoring a decent quality of life for Kathmandu residents while the city supports the nation’s growth. With sound policies and public participation, solutions are within reach to transform Kathmandu into a thriving, sustainable, and inclusive city.

That’s all for this article. What problem do you face in Kathmandu every day? Make sure to write in the comment section.