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Officials call environmental pollution a grave threat

Officials call environmental pollution a grave threat

Apr 23, 2017 - 15:02

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Environmentinfo-icon Protection Authority (EPA) says 70 percent of recreational and agricultural areas have been converted into residential buildings and commercial plazas in major cities of the country.

As a result, oxygen sources would be dangerously depleted in the next four years if the situation persisted, EPA deputy head Ghulam Mohammad Malakyar warned at a ceremony marking Earth Day.

There would be no recreational spaces or oxygen sources if green areas’ conversion into buildings and land-grab continued, he said, calling the present environmental changes a grave crisis.

Green areas and agricultural land were limited in Afghanistaninfo-icon, the official explained. No agricultural lands except mountains would remain in the future if the environmental changes were not controlled, he cautioned.

Some 30 years ago, three percent of Afghanistan’s land was forested but 2.5 percent of it was destroyed during the war, he said, adding the rehabilitation process helped increase the forest cover to 1.7 percent.

He also expressed concern over the increasing number of pye dogs and movement of outdated vehicles in cities. “Besides the growing urban population, the movement of 85 percent of old vehicles is another major challenge.”

Malakyar said controlling environmental pollution needed a long-term plan, with efforts for prevention it already initiated. The EPA had asked Ulemainfo-icon, prayer leaders, teachers, experts, civil societyinfo-icon activists and media to educate people on environment protection, he added.

Rural Rehabilitation and Development Minister Nasir Ahmad Durrani agreed air pollution represented a threat to people’s lives. He urged scientists to find a solution to the problem.

He said the prevention of air pollution was also the responsibility of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) as it created asphalted roads, agricultural facilities and water supply to citizens.

Deputy Agricultureinfo-icon Livestock and Irrigation Minister Rafi Qarizada described forests as a source of healthy environment and said they were taking steps for the better management and conservation of forests. However, he did not provide more information.

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22 to affirm support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally and marked by more than 193 countries each year.

Afghanistan Independent Land Authority (AILA) says more than 650,000 acres of land has been usurped by powerful individuals countrywide.


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