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    New plan soon to reduce pollution in Kabul

    KABUL (PAN): A new strategic plan is being developed by the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) to reduce air pollution in Kabul by 15 percent over the next three years.

    The polluted environment in Kabul was a real concern, NEPA's Director General Shahzada Mustafa Zahir told a press conference. A new plan was being developed to reduce pollution in the city, he said.

    He estimated 3,000 children lost their lives annually due to inhaling polluted air. However, he suggested the actual number could be much higher if an accurate survey was conducted.

    Nineteen government institutions would work together to implement the plan, Zahir said.

    Head of Zahir's office, Dr Mohammad Khalid Nasimi, identified the large number of vehicles and low-quality fuel as the main factors behind the air pollution.

    More than 25 percent of vehicles used for 25 years would be removed, fuel filtered, trees planted, green belts made in different parts of the city and public awareness programmes expedited.

    Last week, in a bid to reduce pollution, the government decided to declare Thursday as a weekly off in Kabul and urged residents not to use private vehicles on Mondays and Thursdays.