The health and environment protection commission of the Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House of Parliament) on Sunday summoned officials from the Ministry of Public Health and the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) over Kabul air pollution.
MPs have asked officials to take measures to manage the air pollution in Kabul as it has become a serious problem. “How can we justify this ongoing situation to the people?” parliament speaker, Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, asked.
Responding to the MPs question, Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said the air pollution in Kabul doesn't call for an emergency. However, it is of concern and should be managed in terms of environmental protection, he added.
“With the equipment and facilities that we have and when we look at the statistics in different parts of Kabul city, in reality, the situation is not so bad to announce an emergency and tell people not to leave their houses,” Feroz said.
However, Ezatullah Sediqi, deputy head of NEPA said when they shut down a company or factory because of burning non-standard fuels, a number of government departments interfere in their work and do not let them do their jobs.
“They interfere in our works. Some of them say you should close (those departments and factories that burn non-standard fuels) and others say not to close and allow them to stay open,” said Sediqi.
President Ashraf Ghani’s health advisor Rezwan Ahamdzaid, meanwhile, said Kabul residents are concerned about the air pollution. “The situation is very bad. Vehicles and people cannot be seen from 10 meters due to pollution,” he said.
Use of low-quality and non-standard fuels by government and non-government departments and by the people, use of old vehicles and lack of snow and rain in Kabul have been said to be the main reasons behind air pollution.