The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Kabul air pollution and its impacts

Pollution hangs over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Air pollution is a prevalent environmental factor that has a profound impact on human health if not prevented. It is a major threat to global health and prosperity. Air pollution, in all forms, is responsible for millions of deaths each year globally, a number that has increased over the past two decades, so in order to have a clean environment, everyone should contribute to its cleanliness. As investigated, Kabul is one of the most polluted capitals in the world and as the air cools millions of Kabul residents directly use unrefined coal for heating their houses and owners of kilns and public baths burn plastic, rubbers and other thick smoke-producing objects and generators for electricity, pollution increases. On these days, in the mornings and evenings times, columns of smoke rise toward the Kabul sky from apartments, houses, and baths. Air pollution harms all living beings on the Earth and as mentioned, air pollution is the fourth leading cause of premature death globally, claiming the lives of 5.5 million people annually. Nevertheless, the air in Kabul remains in its most polluted and hazardous state. However, the National Environment Protection Authority has not provided any statistics on the level of air pollution in Kabul, and international environmental organizations also lack statistics on Kabul’s air pollution. In 2021, Kabul was among the top 10 polluted cities globally, and Afghanistan was the fourth most polluted country in the world. This year, pollution has increased compared to the previous year due to poverty, as the majority of the people lack enough facilities to heat homes with standard fuels. On the other hand, the lack of electricity and outages have led to an increased use of non-standard fuels. The most significant factor in air pollution is the use of non-standard fuels. Over the past 20 years, urbanization in Kabul has seen significant growth, and the heating systems of most of these neighborhoods and tall buildings operate on coal. Coal is one of the most polluting types of fossil fuels not used in most other countries. However, in countries where coal is used, it is introduced to the market after a chemical process that reduces its smoke, carbon monoxide, and other pollutants. But in Kabul and other regions of Afghanistan, coal is directly supplied to the market from mines, exacerbating pollution. Unfortunately, coal is now not readily available for most people in Kabul, and they resort to highly flammable materials such as Mazut and rubber, which are the most environmentally hazardous substances. Moreover, in the city of Kabul, there are over a million vehicles in circulation. All these vehicles use undesirable fuels with lead concentrations exceeding the standard, as petroleum traders import cheaper materials into Afghanistan but sell them to the public at the standard oil price. Everyone is aware of the dangers of Kabul’s polluted air, and in the long term, the health of all is affected by it. However, addressing the problem of air pollution is not a priority for citizens and the government, and this ‘silent tsunami’ threatens the health of us all. The relevant authorities and organs must take immediate and decisive actions to combat this silent tsunami. These actions should be fundamental and essential in nature, aimed at implementing effective measures to reduce pollution levels and protect public health. Alongside that, the people also have a significant responsibility not to use the means and tools that cause and exacerbate air pollution in the country. They must fulfill their individual and social responsibility in this regard

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.