Lumbini, in Nepal, saw Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism, born around 563 BC. The land believed to have lived Buddha is the latest victim of high levels of environmental pollution.

The situation is so worrying that the masks for the face have become part of the daily life of the monks who meditate and live there.

The alarms for the very high levels of pollution in the area sounded very high when last January, on-the-spot tests showed that the air pollution index in the zone was 173,035 micrograms per cubic meter, when the World Health Organization recommended that it be in the 25 Micrograms.

A joint study by IUCN and Unesco warned local authorities of the future consequences of this problem, as intense pollution in the air already threatens the conservation of this historic site.

Expansion of carbon emissions from local industries into the Lumbini protected area is already causing irreversible damage to biodiversity, the health of the inhabitants, and historic and protected buildings.

The consequences are also socially and culturally. Monk Vivekananda, head of Lumbini’s International Meditation Center, said in a statement to the BBC that he “already feels a lot of trouble breathing in here.” Immediate solution? Wear mask for daily activities, including meditating.

The Nepalese entities are aware of the situation, and the notion that at this time this place is considered as sacred by many, suffers more from pollution than Kathmandu, the capital of the country. For the near future is the intention of local entities to use a drone to locate the sources of pollution, and hopefully minimize the problem.

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