The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been especially good news for most of us, with more than 9 million people infected worldwide and a death toll now approaching 500,000. But the almost-global lockdown that has come as a result of the spread of the virus has had some profound effects on the environment. With fewer cars on the road, businesses and factories shutdown, and most people staying close to home, the air quality in some of the world’s busiest and most chaotic cities has begun to clear. Case in point, Kathmandu, Nepal, where it is currently possible to see Mt. Everest for the first time in decades.
A few days back, the Himalayan Times posted a very brief story that included the photo above. Essentially, what you’re seeing there is Mt. Everest as viewed from the Kathmandu Valley, which sits about 125 miles (201 km) from the mountain. Due to smog, dust, smoke, and other items in the air, the Himalaya are rarely visible from the city, which makes this a rare treat indeed. In fact, there are probably a fair number of people who live in Kathmandu who have never even seen the mountain before. Now, thanks to the lockdown, it can be spotted on the distant horizon.
At the moment, Nepal is starting to reopen and slowly return to normal. That will mean that there will be more people on the street again and much more traffic on the roads. Who knows exactly when there will be enough smog to obscure the mountains once again, but lets hope that the people living there enjoy it while they can. It may be a very long time before the world’s highest peak—which holds special significance for the Nepali people—will be so easily seen once again. Besides, in this strange times that we’re all living in, it’s always good to find a sliver lining.
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