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Authorities sound alarm bells over winter pollution

AT News

KABUL: With winter season around the corner, authorities have sounded alarm bells over excessive pollution urging households and polluters including factories to start using filtering equipment.

Warning of a potential winter air pollution, National Environment Protection Agency warned residential townships and manufacturing firms which use coal and fossil fuels to install filtering systems or face the music.

NEPA spokesman, Qaem Rahimi, has said filtering system will be compulsory. “Violators will have to pay fines of about Afs 50,000 – 250,000 and those refusing to pay will be charged in court,” he said.

To make sure the anti-pollution plan is fully implemented, Rahimi assured of immense cooperation among government departments.

This comes as First Vice President Amrullah Saleh’s office has said in a statement that 373 buildings with coal heating system in Kabul don’t have filtering system. It said that business complexes, townships, big apartments and institutions operating against environmental protection laws were warned to install filtering system.

Environmental protection experts believe that such steps must have been taken since the beginning of the year. “Filters are effective to avoid smoke and air pollution, but unfortunately the filters are not standard, even if the standard filters are available, its price will be very high, so the execution of this program is impossible as monitoring system is very feeble,” said former deputy chief of Afghanistan Environmental Protection Agency, Abdul Wali Mudaqiq.

The prevention of a long time air pollution, Mudaqiq said, needed serious focus on increase of hydropower, solar power production and greenery in the country.

High population, substandard township areas, old vehicles and using of coal are the main factors of air pollution. Experts say that air pollution and polluted environment cause to breathing diseases and other chronic illness, which even in some case leading to dead of the patients.

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