The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Winter & increasing air pollution in Kabul

Every year, with the arrival of winter in Kabul, air pollution increases and makes life difficult for the people in the city. Many days, a layer of dust and smoke completely covers the atmosphere of Kabul city. Air pollution is the contamination of air due to the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. Air pollution is a significant risk factor for a number of pollution-related diseases, including respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Air pollution which is considered as one of the social challenges in Afghanistan increases every year with the arrival of the winter season. This challenge is more worrying in Kabul city than anywhere else in the country. Despite having a backdrop of beautiful mountain ranges and other geographical traits, Kabul as a city is suffering the effects of this rapid urbanization, seeing some of the worst pollution levels in the world.
Whilst it may be undergoing rapid urbanization, there are still many parts of the city and people without proper access to electricity and other fundamental aspects of life. Due to this, many citizens resort to the burning of various materials to provide energy for cooking, small businesses and heating. It has been well documented that people have turned to using materials such as plastics, rubber, wood and coal for their energy and heat needs, with a rapid spike of pollution being seen in the colder months being testament to this. The burning of fossil fuels, organic matter such as wood and synthetic man-made materials such as rubber tires and various forms of plastic can lead to disastrous levels of pollution coalescing in the city’s atmosphere.
With materials such as plastic and rubber being burnt in high quantities, the air in Kabul would be host to a large amount of extremely unwanted chemicals and fine particulate matter, all of which can enter the body via respiration and in some cases pass through the blood barrier into the bloodstream, causing disastrous effects on people’s health.
Burnt plastic would release compounds and gases such as furans, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls as well as toxic metals such as lead and mercury. These have ill effects on both human health as well as the environment, leading to ecosystems and areas of greenery being decimated. Exposure to plastic fumes can cause increased rates of cancer over longer periods (similar to many other materials mentioned in the previous list, with a large amount of them having carcinogenic properties).
The carbon monoxide (CO) released can cause instances of rapid death in homes where there is not enough ventilation, and the toxic chemicals and elements such as cyanide, mercury and lead can all cause irreversible damage to the nervous system, leading to chronic fatigue, cognitive defects, increased instances of fatal heart attacks or strokes, as well as less severe symptoms such as headaches and all round increase in illness susceptibility, thus heavily reducing the quality of life for those who are exposed. For time being, no measures has been taken to reduce the air pollution in the city. People have asked for taking serious measures in connection with reduction in air pollution in the city.
Mohammad Daud

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.