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Thursday holiday extended for 3 months in Kabul

Thursday holiday extended for 3 months in Kabul

Mar 15, 2011 - 16:22

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Thursday holiday – brought in last year as a way to cut air pollution in Kabul – will be extended for another three months, officials said on Tuesday.

The National Environmental Protection Agency had proposed the official day off on Nov. 30 last year to run until March 21, the start of the new Afghan year.

On Monday, the Council of Ministers decided to extend the holiday for another three months.

But the deputy director of the environmental protection department, Ghulam Mohammad Malikyar, said they should choose Saturday instead of Thursday to tie in with the Western worldinfo-icon’s weekend.

"We lose three days a week in terms of work because of the Thursday holiday," he said.

Thursday and Friday are holidays in Afghanistaninfo-icon, while most Western countries have their weekend on Saturday and Sunday meaning which affects Afghanistan’s economic and political relations with the world, he said.

The Thursday holiday, in which government offices, banks and schools are closed, had made no noticeable contribution on improving Kabul’s air pollution.

"Only our vehicles stop in Kabul, while the vehicles of other countries are traveling in the city, so it has no positive effect on the air," he said.

Mustafa Zahir, the director of the environmental department, said during a speech to Cabinet ministers that pollution in Kabul was harmful and had demanded that Thursday be made a holiday.

He said they prepared a strategic plan to reduce air pollution by 15 percent in Kabul city over the next three years.

A shopkeeper in Deh Afghanan, Wahidullah, 27, said the Thursday holiday would not be enough to improve the air in the city, and that the government should take other measures.

He said they needed to take old cars off the road, and improve the quality of the fuel.

Kabul municipality should also set up some green areas to help offset the pollution, a resident of the 500-Family area, Khwaja Abdul Jabar, said.

The population of the city has also increased, so the government should make a plan to ensure it does not increase further, he said.

He asked residents to cooperate with the government to help keep the environmentinfo-icon clean, because the environment is not only the duty of the government, but the responsibility of the people also.



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