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Above 35,000 rickshaws ply Jalalabad roads, polluting air

Above 35,000 rickshaws ply Jalalabad roads, polluting air

Feb 16, 2017 - 17:24

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): More than 35,000 rickshaws have been illegally plying roads in the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province, the provincial police chief said on Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Syed Gul Aqa said most drivers of the three-wheelers were without license, but his department has recently launched a drive to register rickshaws lacking documents or illegally transferred to the country.

Aqa did not name the country from where rickshaws are being brought to Afghanistaninfo-icon, but in the past rickshaws were mainly brought from Pakistaninfo-icon and currently being imported from India as well.

The police chief said: “We order drivers to obtain license and other necessary documents and sure the law is respected.”

Meanwhile, resident, healthinfo-icon officials and experts said rickshaws were creating multiple issues from health to commuting in the city.

They said the increasing number of rickshaws were polluting the air and causing health related issues to dwellers.

Local residents say as many as three million people live in Jalalabad where the level of air pollution has been on the increase.

Provincial environmentinfo-icon protection department head, Fazal Rabi Hamim, expressed concern over the presence of thousands of rickshaws in Jalalabad and their impact on the environment.

He said they had started removing gas kits from rickshaws and had so far removed the kits from 1,400 rickshaws.

However, he said removal of gas kits would not be a proper solution until alternative automobiles were introduced.

Ahmadullah, a resident of Jalalabad, said some rickshaws produced much smoke due to high usage of oil and gas.

Too much noise created by rickshaws in the city was another problem as people could not hear each others, he said.

A rickshaw driver, Noorullah, said traffic officials used to remove gas kits from rickshaws that produced high amount of smoke. But he said some drivers to avoid such action placed the gas cylinders in hidden corners.

“Gas does not produce much smoke, but we use car oil that helps the engine work properly, but some drivers intentionally use high amount of oil which is the cause of high smoke,” he said.

Health professionals say rickshaws create many health problems such as respiratory and mental.

Mohammad Shoaid Safi, a health specialist, said high amount of smoke and noise produced by rickshaws created chest and mental problems in people.

Experts believe increasing population, shrinking residential areas and absence of jobs in Jalalabad are factors pushing the people to eke out a living by driving rickshaws in the city.


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