GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Residents of Ghazni City complain about air pollution caused by industrial units in the provincial capital.
They say the air pollution has resulted in serious respiratory diseases and other health problems among the people. They urge the relevant authorities to deal with the problem on a priority basis.
Mobeen, a resident of Bakaul area, told Pajhwok Afghan News sub-standard fuel was used in some factories, something that is seen as a public health hazard.
He said their area was dotted with multiple industrial units that consumed sub-standard and smoke-emitting materials, creating health problems for children.
Rajab, hailing from the area, confirmed: “The air here is polluted. Many people are sick, I myself have respiratory complications and my three children are also sick.”
He asked the government to take measures to rein in the situation ahead of winter, when the air becomes very polluted. Additionally, people facing economic hardships resort to using plastic and coal for warming their houses.
Doctors warn polluted air can create respiratory issues, shortness of breath and other diseases.
Noted pediatrician Dr Najibullah Alizai told Pajhwok if the level of air pollution continued unchecked, there would be grave consequences.
“In total, 77 percent of air is made of nitrogen, 20 percent of oxygen, one percent each of oxide gases and storage gases. When the air is combined with other elements such as toxic gases and metals, it can affect people and cause serious problems,” he explained.
The pediatrician explained the polluted air could cause shortness of breath, seasonal diseases; especially people living near industrial units are more vulnerable to such ailments.
He added the air pollution also led to the spread of a disease called silicosis among children.
On the other hand, Director of Public Health Dr Rasoul Khan Nazari said no specific pollution –caused condition had been recorded at health centres so far.
But he acknowledged air pollution in the province, saying they were working together with the Environmental Protection Authority to address the issue.
Maulvi Ahmadullah Irfan, the head of EPA in Ghazni, told Pajhwok they had set up a committee consisting of representatives from various departments.
Officials of the environment protection agency, municipality, public health, industry and trade, police headquarters and other departments are part of the body that constantly monitors industrial units. Recently it closed 16 factories using smoky fuel.
He said the owners of factories had promised to use filters and help check air pollution. He asked people to refrain from consuming materials causing pollution.
Avoiding the burning of plastic, tiyes and other things including coal in houses, hotels and bakeries could resolve the existing problems to a large extent.
Factory owners insist they have installed filters, but they cannot use them properly due to lack of electricity.
Ramadan, who owns a chalk-manufacturing factory in Ghazni City, said there was no specific industrial park or other facilities in the provincial capital.
He urged the authorities to establish industrial parks to solve the problems of industrialists, control pollution and boost investments in all sectors.
The Department of Commerce and Industry says in addition to factories, there are about 200 brick kilns and confectionaries in Nawabad, Qala-i-Shadeh, Bekaul, Shahrak, Shahristan, Tohidabad, and Ashaar areas.