The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Decades of conflict cause devastating impacts on natural environment

Decades of conflict and violence, coupled with drought and earthquake, have had devastating impacts not only on the people of Afghanistan, but also on its natural environment, once pristine and rich in biological diversity.
Increasing air pollution has raised concern among the people and relevant organs. In recent days, various meetings have been held to find ways to address increasing pollution in the country particularly in Kabul, the capital.
A number of participants, including university lecturers, taking part in a seminar held recently on air pollution have expressed concerns over the increase of air pollution in the capital Kabul. At the seminar, named “Investigation of the Environment, Problems and Solutions” held by the Academy of Science, the participants have said that Kabul city is one of the most polluted cities in the world.
According to the seminar’s participants, air pollution is at the highest level in Kabul city, and it is going to be among the most polluted capitals in the world. However, the country’s National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) believes that air pollution has decreased in Kabul in comparison to previous years.
In recent weeks, NEPA has ordered owners of towers, residential townships and brick production companies to install filters. According to NEPA, burning coal, plastic and other cheap fuels and as well as the exhaust emissions from old vehicles are the main sources of air pollution in Kabul.
Currently, Afghanistan’s population is facing a growing array of environmental problems including some unrelenting deforestation and land degradation, uncontrolled urbanization and solid waste disposal, worsening air and water pollution, depletion of groundwater, limited renewable energy alternatives, and more frequent and severe floods, droughts, and landslides.
Decades of conflicts and violence, poor infrastructure in the past 20 years, and the accelerating impacts of climate change are seriously limiting efforts to get a better grip of the deteriorating situation and its effects on human well-being.
Air pollution is one of the main environmental risk factors for increased mortality in Afghanistan, according to WHO estimates. Household air pollution causes approximately 27 000 deaths per year, whereas ambient or outdoor air pollution causes over 11 000 deaths annually.
Although most of the population are unaware of the risks of air pollution, the increasing levels of PM2.5 have contributed to an increase in disease burden of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and lung cancer.
During winter seasons, the prevalence of respiratory diseases further worsens as most inhabitants from low-income strata rely on non-sustainable practices to generate heat due to recurrent electricity shortages. Mohammad Daud

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.