Regional Reports - Afghanistan

Kabul air pollution at sky-high levels

Air pollution in Kabul may be hastening the death of over 3,000 people every year, according to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).

IRIN reports that epidemiological studies by the MoPH indicate cardiovascular and respiratory diseases resulting from air pollution in Kabul are increasing the country's crude mortality rate by four percent a year.

“If we apply the four percent increase in mortality due to air pollution to the population of Kabul, then an extra 3,060 persons may be losing their lives due to air pollution per year,” the MoPH said.

Citing Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), National Public Radio, a non-commercial news website, said the level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) was 52 ppm (parts per million) on an average day in Kabul in 2008.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national air quality standard for NO2 (annual average concentration) is 0.053 ppm. The level of sulphur dioxide (SO2) was 37 ppm on an average day in Kabul in 2008.

The US EPA says the 24-hour average concentration of SO2 should not exceed 0.14 ppm. Substandard fuel for old cars and deforestation are believed to be the key causes of the air pollution. The government has established an environmental protection emergency commission to act on the problem.

ate of upload: 31st March 2009

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