Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

The long term and short term strategy against air-pollution

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The long term and short term strategy against  air-pollution

In recent days with stoppage of rain or snow fall, the air-pollution has also increased in Kabul city. According to a media report quoted a from an American aerologist source named Air Visual,  Kabul has been ranked as the most polluted cit of the world based on the latest technical checking. Based on the same report, the company advised the Kabul citizens to wear masque and keep their windows closed. In fact, this is a scientific warning for public health, especially to the vulnerable groups such as children, women, street workers and also old aged people.  Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) also called for the government attention blaming the low quality coal fuel as a dangerous factor to children and old-aged group of the people. According to AIHRC, the government should provide the rights of good health while the good-health requires accessing to clean environment .
As the air-polluting factors are clear such as uses of goal fuel, old car and un-asphalted road, the solution is also clear. The government can provide alternative options for coal fuel with providing gas and electricity, control of walking old cars and asphalting the non-asphalted roads ad streets as a long term solution. As a short term solution, now these factors do not seem feasible because people have already bought coal fuel, all cars cannot be stopped as nearly 90% of cars in Afghanistan are second hand and not in standard age. And also all non-asphalted roads could not be built over a night.  In the current situation we need to help the government with seeking short term solution aiming to mitigate the problem. Therefore, this article is going to seek some short-term solutions which are feasible in the current condition of Afghanistan hoping to draw the attentions of the responsible authorities .
Firstly, the government needs to help people so that all coal burners including public baths, factories, businesses and houses install filter devices. As Afghanistan has huge source of coal or coals mines, we cannot throw them away and so instead we can seek ways for its effective uses in the country. For this purpose, one of the best ways is to legalize the filtration for all public baths, factories and businesses in all seasons and for houses just in the winter. The filters can be a good solution as it purifies large parts of harmful substances which usually emits into the space of cities and country. However, the government has already proceeded to implement this solution but it only focused on large buildings around 600 houses while they may not comprise more than 15 or 10% of Kabul population or coal burners. The major problem for implementation of this solution is that all people cannot afford to buy these many filters and so the government needs to help people seeking fiscal assistance from national and international donors. the government, instead of spending a large amount of monetary resources in buying low quality medicine with deaths of almost three thousand people yearly as result of disease linked to air pollution , can invest on this solution which largely impact both on extra-spending on health and also reduce air-pollutions .
As a second solution, we need to establish a specific team to carry out scientific research raising public awareness and find out scientific solution for overall environmental challenges in the country. This team, beside engaging people in environmental protection and raising awareness about implications environmental pollution, should act as scientific candle in the country. We need to note that many cities of Afghanistan have gotten the position of most polluted country in the world and so we need to establish team to do regular research and find out strategic solutions to appropriate to context of Afghanistan. For example, we can install air-monitoring system in different parts of Kabul in order to timely update people and  give necessary advices about fighting and negative implication the air-pollution. Researching the scientific experience of world countries, they can provide necessary tips and solutions applicable in the context of the country.  Given that we live in the age of information and technology, we must stop the methods of effort and trial both in making short term or long term strategy .
As third solution, we can advice people to use mask to save themselves from dust particles present in the polluted air. Even, if we use the basic surgical masks, it can largely prevent from dust particles, especially in the morning and late evening. Most of masks which are made of two or three layers clothe can largely protect against various dust particles in the air. Mask is also helpful as long as covid-19 is completely defeated, especially during social contacts and gatherings. Many of the countries have made it obligatory since first wave of covid-19 and so it is advisable as an affordable strategy for all people. In addition to this, it is highly advisable to limit our strenuous or outdoor physical activity in the early morning and late afternoon even if one is very healthy poor air quality can have an immediate and startling affect on our health as well as long-term consequences. If air quality is poor in a particular area and the air pollution is problematic, we need to consider reducing the amount of time staying there even though we have a usual mask .
Lastly, we also need to a healthy diet plan under instruction of health experts. According to health experts, any food items which contains antioxidant, zinc, milk, protein products and forth are helpful for those who repeatedly involved in air-polluted environment. Therefore, green tea, milk products, meat, poultry, fish, garlic, eggs, beans , green peas, carrots, lemons especially lentils are advisable to be used in the current conditions .

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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