World Environment Day: People call for action to protect Afghanistan’s environment

Kabul city. File photo

As the world celebrated World Environment Day on Monday, residents of various provinces said they are concerned as little attention has been paid to protecting Afghanistan’s environment over the years.

The United Nations established World Environment Day in 1972 during the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Since then, it has been celebrated every year with a specific theme to focus attention on a particular environmental concern.

Taking cognisance of the day on Monday, people around Afghanistan voiced their concerns over what they say is the consequences of the country not protecting the environment.

One resident in Takhar pointed out that underground water is disappearing due to the lack of attention. “World Environment Day is marked at a time when in Afghanistan we’re faced with serious challenges in this respect, especially lack of underground water. Underground water levels are falling,” he said.

Another major point of concern was the high levels of air pollution in Afghanistan’s cities. This is mainly due to excessive fuel consumption in vehicles, damaged roads, lack of green belts, the absence of proper sewage systems and other amenities, the prolific burning of rubber and plastic through winter and people’s indifference to protecting their environment.

According to experts, these challenges have turned into a crisis for Afghanistan.

“Environment pollution is a major challenge. Seasonal winds also cause air pollution when they move from one area to another,” said a resident of Badakhshan.

People in different parts of the country said that environmental challenges such as air pollution, and lack of control of underground water by the authorities have caused environmental destruction and lack of clean water in the country.

“Natural resources are decreasing around the world and it is damaging the nature and environment,” said Ahmad Khan, a teacher in Kabul.

World Environment Day is celebrated every year by countries around the world and this year the theme was Beat Plastic Pollution.

But in Afghanistan, environmental protection has not been a priority of the governments of the past 20 years.

Addressing a gathering on World Environment Day in Kabul on Monday, Taliban’s acting minister of public health, Qalandar Ibad, said that Afghanistan is ready to cooperate with the international community in environmental protection.