Kabul is a bustling, developing city with a growing population of over five million people but the city was built to house only half a million. With its growing population, the inevitable accumulation of waste has transpired.
Upon my recent arrival in the city, I observed countless heaps of trash, piled high on many street corners.
I noticed there was no means to dispose of this garbage and neither were there garbage cans for the public to use.
Many people simply throw the trash out of their windows as there are no garbage disposal units in either their homes or offices.
Having piles of garbage on the streets raises serious concerns. For one, there are many feral dogs in Kabul, which are attracted to these piles of garbage in their hunt for food. These dogs not only can carry many diseases but they could turn on humans and attack them. Sheep and cattle also feed off these piles.
These piles of garbage are also a serious health risk and if left to rot, there is always the risk that this can infiltrate the underground water supply in the city – polluting this valuable resource even further.
The trash can ultimately cause diseases like typhoid and diarrhea, which can be fatal to more vulnerable individuals and children.
With Kabul’s air and water already polluted, it is important to dispose of waste properly, so it does not contribute further to the pollution that is growing in the city.
I have seen some dumpsters clustered in areas, but even then there are not enough to hold the amount of trash generated each day in the city.
Even with the dumpsters, there is trash piled up around them and no one seems to care enough to pick it up.
The purpose of garbage cans is for them to hold waste until they can be picked up and taken to a landfill where it can be disposed of responsibly.
It is extremely important for the city of Kabul to place trash cans on all streets to reduce the amount of waste that is left on the ground.
Having trash cans and teaching citizens how to properly dispose of waste can reduce the pollution that is present in the city. It can also reduce the number of feral dogs attracted to this garbage.
It is important to teach the citizens of Kabul about proper waste disposal in order to promote a healthier city. I have seen some people picking up garbage, but there needs to be more motivation for cleaning up the streets.
The first step to improving the environment in Kabul is to remove the growing piles of trash on the streets so as to reduce the health risks involved with undisposed waste.
Distributing garbage bins can be the start to a clean-up process, which will also result in cleaner water – which has been unsanitary for decades.
Garbage bins can also reduce the odors that are common on the streets. After the introduction of disposal bins to the streets, citizens should be well educated as to how to use them properly so as to ensure the correct use of the bins and to reduce the pollution found in the city.
Sophia Mourtaza is an Afghan-American fourth-year student studying Environmental Resource Management at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Mourtaza believes in change and reform for Afghanistan and would like to implement policies to improve the unsanitary environment of Kabul. With simple yet effective policies, she believes that Kabul can be restored to the clean city it was decades ago.