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Editorial: Air pollution another life threat to Kabul residents

The air over the capital city of Kabul looks like the bricklaying factories that use plastics and tires as fuel at the eastern and northern outskirts of the city and that blacken the surrounding area with smoke. The air of the capital city is just black and one cannot see even a short distance. The air gets darker after the evening after the heaters are on in most of houses. More than 90 percent of families use coal as fuel to heat houses in the winter because the coal is cheaper than any other fuels. But the people are not aware or do not care about the harms of this fuel which enters directly to houses from markets after being extracted from mines without any refinery measures that lessen it smoke, pollution and health injuries. The thick and dark smoke rising from tens of thousands of houses’ rooftops to the air change the color of sky to black and when you are out at night you feel painful eye irritation and barely breathe. Hospitals these days are full of people suffering from asthma and other lung-related diseases.

In fact, winter is the season of hope for people, especially for the farmers and other rural residents who severely need snowfall and rainfall for irrigation. But this is also considered in the recent years as a deadly season since the air is extremely polluted. A report published by the local media said that the concentration of suspended particles reach of 500 micrograms in every cubic meter which is very beyond than the warning level. The government as usual remains as a spectator and the environment department is yet to do anything. People need to be aware of an increase in death toll during the winter, they need to learn why they get sick more than other seasons and they need to learn if it is useful in general to use unrefined coal. They need to know not to jeopardize their families’ lives just for reasonable price of coal and other cheap fuels. Media are requested to launch awareness programs to save the lives of people, especially children who are more in danger and can easily get infected with lung diseases.  

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