Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Pollution – A Serious Menace to Public Health

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Pollution – A Serious Menace to Public Health

Pollution poses a serious threat to the world, including Afghanistan. It takes its toll on individuals’ health and scores of men, women and children lose their lives annually by the various disease stems from toxic wastes. In largely populated cities, where vehicles abound and emit more gases, different types of disease prevail among the residents. It is believed that the victims of pollution are far greater than the victims of terrorism, mainly in Kabul City where you can see thick fog and foul-smelling garbage while walking on the street.   
It is said that 13 million people lose their lives annually due to pollution and Afghanistan forms the bulk of the casualties. The child mortality rate, caused by air pollution, is very high in Afghanistan and rumors say that 153 out of 1000 children die before the age of seven. Every day, 8 – 10 persons die in the country by the disease caused by toxic wastes. Generally, the average lifetime has reached to 44.4 in the country – which is a great cause of concern.  
The thick columns of smoke coming out from brick kilns every day in Kabul form thousands of tons of fatal gases. The gases, produced yearly by 450 brick kilns in Kabul, includes 222 thousand tons carbon dioxide, 9,922 tons carbon monoxide, 3037. 5 tons nitrogen oxide, and 5,400 tons sulphur dioxide.
In addition, there are many other factories in Kabul that pollute the air such as battery-making industries, which produce sulphuric acid (strong acid that attacks organic compounds), petroleum store, food processing, iron smelting and weaving factories and many other factories which are located in the heart of the city – the benefits go to the pocket of the owners but the harm goes to the public and target people’s health indiscriminately.
If one walks on Kabul streets, s/he will think that there has been no mayor for Kabul at all. The smelly heaps of garbage on the side of streets, under the hot sun, touch the passersby’s noses sharply and make them grimace with strong disgust. Moreover, you can hardly see trees in Kabul and the government pays less attention to the environment and sanitation. Despite the large population, there are no waste baskets on the sides of the streets for the people to throw their garbage. Therefore, people just throw them on the streets without feeling an iota of responsibility.
When you walk by Kabul River, you have to tighten your mask because there is only dirty water, trash and a bunch of drug addicts. A nauseous odor touches nose sharply and makes you throw up. In a nutshell, the river is used as a waste basket and has contaminated the entire city.
People are very irresponsible and throw their trash everywhere. Since the environment is already filthy, they have never thought for a second to keep their surroundings clean. Hence, they neither do the mayor a favor by keeping their city clean nor feel the responsibility of responsible citizens.
Moreover, a number of old engines are being used by free workers and storekeepers for many purposes and old vehicles, which send out heavy fog, are run in the downtown. Similarly, streets are bursting with vehicles and there is no traffic control at all. So, countless vehicles and factories in the city are the contributing factors in polluting the air in Kabul city. Thus, people inhale contaminated and toxic air, which put a deleterious effect on their health and threaten their life and lead to the death of thousands of innocent individuals.
Despite being menaced by various toxic chemicals and greenhouse gas, the world pollutes the air more than ever before and mammoth factories send thick columns of smoke to the air every day. In such a case, the threat to human life gets more serious as the greenhouse gas increases. The unmitigated pollution will destroy the ozone layer, which prevents harmful radiation from the Sun. With the destruction of ozone layer, the ultraviolet (UV) will shine directly on humans’ skins and lead to various disease such as lung cancer, skin cancer, cataract, etc. Nowadays, modern and developed countries produce the largest toxic chemicals and pose serious threat to eco-system. Hence, the life of all humans on earth will be vulnerable to the large-scale pollution.
Developed countries, that possess many large industrial factories, should have a plan to reduce the pollution so as to alleviate the threat to humans’ life. It should be noted that the greenhouse gas is a global threat more serious than terrorism and currently the polluted air takes large casualties, from all countries, silently.
Regarding the pollution in the country, the government will have to take preventive measures. Besides instilling a sense of responsibility in citizens, the state should control the vehicles and old machines and engines being used widely across the city. Moreover, waste baskets should be placed in public places so that the citizens do not throw the trash on the streets. The garbage collectors are supposed to clean the city every day and the garbage trucks transfer them outside the city before the trash disturb the passersby. In short, the harm of pollution is known for all and the government must pay serious attention in keeping the city clean.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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