By: Shukria Kohistani
On the threshold of arriving winter season, concerns have increased over increasing of air pollution in Kabul city. During the winter season, residents of the city use unrefined energy and coal to warm their homes, bathrooms and residential towers. People are asked to pay attention to prevention of increasing air pollution during the winter season.
Nevertheless, environment protection agencies are warning that people should not pollute air during the winter season as the country is currently facing with COVID-19 pandemic that has killed hundreds thousands of people across the world.
Officials of the respective agencies are advising the people to use refined and clean energy as electricity and gas to warm their houses, bathrooms and residential buildings. They have warned that polluting the air and environment is a crime and criminals will be first fined and later introduced to judicial organs if they do not care of protection of the environment.
Last year, air pollution changed to a big issue and Kabul was topped as the most polluted cities in the world. Increasing air pollution had caused that Presidential Office created a commission to counter increasing pollution in the capital of Kabul.
Spokesman and communication and public relations director for National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) Qasim Rahimi says a regulation to counter increasing air pollution has been amended and legal punishments have added to the regulations. He said that cash fines as well as introducing criminals involved in air pollution have been considered in the regulation and would be implemented.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson to National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) says all vehicles operating in Kabul city will be checked and reviewed. He added that the ministry of transportation and Kabul traffic department are responsible for reviewing and checking vehicles, warning that owners of those vehicles producing much smoke would be fined and introduced to judicial organs in case of not taking it serious.
“For long-term programs and reduction of air pollution in Kabul city, NEPA is planning to launch the greenbelt program,” the NEPA spokesperson said, adding that tree-planting program is part of the greenbelt program.
He asked the people to cooperate the government particularly NEPA in reduction of increasing air pollution in the city, saying that all would face with challenge if attention was not paid to the issue.
In the meantime, head of Kabul Environment Protection Kazim Hamayoun considers the air pollution level in current season as high, added that the air pollution rate would possibly increase by arriving winter season.
“To reduce increasing air pollution in Kabul city, a range of steps have been taken and others are underway,” Hamayoun said, adding that a database has been created identify and register resources producing smoke in the country.
He further said that 4183 smoke producing sources have been identified in 22 city districts and 14 provincial districts of Kabul so far and registered in GPS, adding that NEPA has started work to monitor towers, bathrooms and residential houses that have committed to reduction of air pollution in the city.
This comes amid of increasing positive cases of COVID-19 that has killed more than 1,400 people across the country.