Air Pollution

by Abdullah Qazi
last updated on September 21, 2008

Photo: Akmal Dawi/IRIN

Due to cost and pretty much little other alternatives, Afghans are forced to burn wood in order to keep warm and to cook their food. This, along with the fact that a large number of vehicles (many old and poorly maintained) in Afghanistan run on poor quality fuels, air pollution has become a problem in Afghanistan’s major urban areas – like in the city of Kabul where it is clearly visible. In fact, a recent study revealed that 60% of Kabul’s residents are exposed to increased levels of harmful toxins such as nitrous oxides, and sulfur dioxide. Moreover, as more refugees from such places as Pakistan and Iran return, many of these people will most likely move to the urban areas, and with an increase in population comes more pollution. As a result of the increase air pollution, city residents have had increased asthma attacks as well as respiratory diseases. The government needs to develop a robust strategy of air monitoring, and come up with ways of reducing the amount of air pollution.

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