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Air pollution ‘catastrophic’ in Kabul, MPs told



Air pollution ‘catastrophic’ in Kabul, MPs told

Dec 31, 2017 - 17:55

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): National Environmental Protection Agency head Shah Zaman Maiwandi on Sunday said air pollution had turned catastrophic in Kabul City.

Appearing before a Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon or lower house of parliament panel, the EPA chief said preventing pollution wasn’t responsibility of only one organization but all government institutions and people should make joint efforts in this regard.

Lawmakers said air pollution was a major problem of Kabul residents after insecurity and unemployment. They said dozens of people developed respiratory diseases on a daily basis due to the dirty air.

Wolesi Jirga’s Commission on Natural Resources and Environmentinfo-icon on Sunday summoned the authorities concerned to find solution to the increasing air pollution.

Ramazan Jumazada, head of the Wolesi Jirga panel, said Kabul residents in addition to insecurity, joblessness and poverty also faced a air pollution problem because dozens of children, youth and elderly people daily caught breathing ailments.

Jumazada dubbed air pollution in Kabul city as a grave issue and warned if serious measures were not taken, the situation in Kabul would worsen.

Mohiuddin Mahdi, a public representative from Baghlan province and member of the Wolesi Jirga commission, said: “Air pollution is a serious problem in Kabul city, the government is responsible to take practical and serious measures at preventing the air pollution.”

Masihullah Mahboob, urban services deputy head at the Kabul Municipality, who was also present at the session, cited excessive population density, un-asphalted roads, unrestricted usage of fuel and congested traffic as key factors behind the air pollution.

“The municipality has no power to control the population and also asphalting of roads takes a lot of time. But for a short-term solution we can replace fuel with other alternative and stop using smoking old vehicles.” He said about 85 percent of bread bakeries, public bathrooms and hotels consumed gas.

Ghulam Mohammad Malakyar, a technical deputy at the National Environmental Protection Agency, admitted extremely congested roads and use of poor quality fuel added to the air pollution in Kabul city.

He suggested stopping smoking vehicles from plying Kabul roads and replacing polluting fuel with alternative in winter could reduce the air pollution to some extent.

He said if the government interfered in the open market and reduced gas prices, then people would no longer use poor quality fuel and this might be effective in preventing pollution.

Malakyar, while acknowledging Kabul citizens breathed dirty air, however, he said the level of suspended particulates (dust) in air was nearly 1,500 millimicron per cubic meter of air last year but reduced to 650 millimicron per cubic meter this year. He said the standard amount of suspended particles in the  air was between 100 to 150.



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