Increasing concerns over air pollution in Kabul

As residents of Kabul and a number of provinces of the country are complaining about increasing air pollution, the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) considers that the institution’s work and services delivery have been effective in reduction of air pollution in the past one year.
Residents of Kabul told The Kabul Times correspondent that they suffer various diseases due to increasing air pollution in the city.
“Despite of continued rainfalls, the weather in Kabul is still polluted as all roads and streets are full of dust that causes various diseases,” said Mehnaz, a Kabul resident.
She added that the more Kabul weather is getting warmer, the more air pollution is increasing, asking relevant organs to resolve the problem.
Meanwhile, relevant officials said that the National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA) has coordinated its efforts with a number of ministries and institutions to take practical steps for overcoming air pollution in the city.
According to officials for NEPA, a number of people unfortunately pay no attention to environment protection and do not observe the culture of urbanization as they throw trashes away everywhere they want despite that there are increasing number of trash-bins installed by Kabul municipality everywhere in the city.
Afghan environment experts believe that air pollution in Kabul is seasonal and it will increase with the arrival of summer. During winter, as the weather gets cold, the air pollution increases in the city due to the use of low-quality fuel by its residents.
Air pollution in the city is considered now as a threat, similar to the threat posed by terrorism as both put people’s lives in danger.
Air pollution has changed to a big issue in big cities of Afghanistan in particular Kabul, the capital as a report released by an American institution last year listed Afghanistan among the ten cities in the world which have the most polluted air.
Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health also says the main cause of increasing diseases among Afghans is air pollution in big cities of the country. Nevertheless, officials for the the National Environment Protection Authority considered that one of the major problems was lack of coordination between government institutions, saying that NEPA managed to sign some memorandums of understanding with a number of institutions for launching joint projects in the country.
“22 ministries have been directed to make an action plan for reducing air pollution in Kabul city,” said Ezatullah Sediqi, deputy chief of NEPA.
In 2017, President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree on the environmental law, stating any person found guilty of committing major pollution-related crimes can face between 16 and 20 years in prison. 
Shukria Kohistani

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