ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New: Air Pollution Page

Air pollution appears to be a current issue in Bhutan. Sources of pollution include vehicles, forest fires, bukharis, and industrial waste, among others. Thimphu's topography - a high-altitude city surrounded by mountains - can create a pollution disaster if the area is prone to thermal inversion.

While relatively large particles can usually be filtered by the nose and throat, particles smaller than 10 micrometers can end up in the lungs and cause serious health problems. The National Environmental Council (NEC) measures of particles with size 10 micrometers or less (PM10) and posts the 24-hour readings on its home page. BBS also shows the daily PM10 numbers during news hour on the bottom right corner of the TV screen, although I found their display rather difficult to read.

What I could not find on the NEC website are historical numbers. Is pollution increasing? Is it decreasing? Does it change with the seasons? What was the worst day? All these questions are impossible to answer without historical data.

I decided to start collecting this information using an automatic program that copies the daily readings into an online spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is updated daily. This information available publicly on our new Air Pollution page, which you can access from the top navigation bar.