JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Residents of Jalalabad, the capital city of eastern Nangarhar province, on Monday complained of increasing air pollution caused by industrial units.
Up to 300 big and small factories are functional in the provincial capital, hampering people’s movement and polluting the environment.
Ghulam Hazrat, a resident of the 3rd police district, told Pajhwok Afghan News an iron-welding machine was situated near his home. Locals could not walk through the street due to dust and smoke. The pollution causes disease among people, he said.
Farhad, another resident of the 5th police district, said an ice factory near his home created problems for people. The factory puts a negative impact on the water level in the spring season.
Humaira Rafi, the provincial council secretary, acknowledged receiving a large number of complaints in this regard. But most of the complaints are lodged against the iron-welding machines.
She said the issue had been shared with the authorities concerned, who had promised dealing with the problem on priority.
Environment Protection Department Director Aminullah Yousufzai confirmed the problem, saying the air pollution had reached a level that harmed inhabitants.
He said they had stopped issuing licences to new factories and efforts were underway to move some units creating hurdles for the people to other areas.
He added there were three categories of factories in Nangarhar — most hazardous, medium-threat units and those which were innocuous.
Air pollution has become a serious challenge in major cities, particularly in Kabul and Jalalabad, officials admit, pledging to take remedial measures.