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    Drive to clean Kabul River begins

    KABUL (PAN): A drive involving civil society members and municipality workers to clear the Kabul River of garbage was carried out on Friday, officials said.

    Financed by GTZ, a German international development organisation, the campaign was joined by 300 workers and 13 garbage trucks of the municipality's cleanliness department.

    Nisar Ahmad Habibi, head of the cleanliness department, said GTZ paid 200 afghanis to each worker besides providing fuel for the trucks participating in the drive.

    As part of an initiative of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), Habibi said, the Kabul River was being cleaned from Shah Do Shamsher Bridge to Kheshti Bridge.

    He added 30 NEPA officials and 40 civil society members were taking part in the campaign aimed at shifting an estimated 50 tonnes of garbage from the river to areas outside the capital city.

    Nearly 2,500 square metres of garbage is daily produced by Kabul, with the cleanliness department having the capacity to transfer 1,900 square metres of trash, he explained.

    Kabulcitizens did not take part in the campaign, the official said, urging residents to cooperate with the municipality in keeping the city clean. "If citizens want to live in a clean environment, they should pay attention to the cleanness of their surroundings."

    A resident of the third Macro Ryan area, Abdul Hameed, said it was good for Kabul residents to participate in such drives. "Unfortunately people lack the spirit of cooperation with the government in resolving their problems."

    Habibi said it was impossible for his department to keep the city clean without cooperation from the general public. He said the municipality would soon provide his department with 100 vehicles to intensify the cleanliness effort.

    ma/mud