Kabul’s alarming air pollution

Afghanistan has, for many years, borne the brunt of a much-publicized protracted armed conflict. Meanwhile, away from the glare of publicity, Afghans—and in particular Kabul’s six million residents—are wrestling with another silent but deadly killer: air pollution.   
Sources of air pollution include old cars, poor quality fuel, people burning trash, industrial brick kilns, small-scale smelting plants and foundries. That’s in addition to pollution coming from bakeries, restaurants and wedding halls as well as power plants, generators, household cooking stoves and heaters.
Officials at the National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA) said on Saturday that a plan is underway to reduce the level of pollution in Kabul. Last Thursday President Ghani ordered officials of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) and the Air Protection Commission to take serious steps to address the air pollution within 10 days.
Spokesman for the Presidential Palace, said: “The president gave a 10-day deadline to the commission to make a plan to reduce the air pollution.” Meanwhile head of NEPA, said that the plan will investigate new causes of pollution.
“We are investigating five townships in Kabul city, investigating bathhouses, investigating sand processing plants and investigating brick-making kilns… limiting the use of coal is the solution to the pollution,” Said the official.
NEPA said earlier that air pollution has increased many times beyond its safe level. Residents of Kabul city are also concerned about the pollution and say that the air outdoors is causing them to become ill.
Indeed, a comprehensive analysis of air pollution in Kabul has not yet been conducted. However, there have been measurements to assess levels of particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur and carbon monoxide.
Meanwhile, it is every individual citizen’s humanitarian responsibility to co-operate with the government in every aspect to overcome this dilemma and enjoy a life free of silent enemy such as air pollution and terrorism activities. The government is helpless to approach a conclusion in fighting against the silent enemy (air pollution) and terrorists, unless the people co-operate with their government.
The line ministries, civil society activists and education institutions should do more to raise awareness as well as help tackle the ongoing deadly air pollution in the capital city.
Launching a strong environmental awareness campaign will play an effective role in decreasing pollution and make people more attentive to their surroundings. Citizens should be aware of their responsibilities regarding their environments.
Moreover, the organs concerned must encourage citizens to plant trees and prevent them from deforestations. In a nutshell, both the government and nation will have to fulfill their responsibilities regarding the environment and do their best to stop polluting it.

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