The National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) said Thursday the city's air pollution has dropped dramatically due to the change of the seasons, and the lockdown in Kabul.
Ezatullah Siddiqi, deputy head of NEPA, said they had regularly tested Kabul's air quality over the past 16 days with mobile air quality monitors.
Mobile devices from the National Environmental Protection Agency have been installed in 16 districts of Kabul, testing the quality of Kabul's air quality.
According to the National Environmental Protection Agency, Kabul's air pollution was severely polluted for three to five months: “The standard for nitrogen dioxide is 80, but the statistics we get from Kabul’s PDs are 20, 48, 14, 21, 22, 31, 74, 11, 73, 75, 39, 34, 69, 69, 66, 44, 71 and 31. And that's how it was shown to us, as were the statistics on ozone gas.”
There has been a lockdown imposed in Kabul city for the past 20 days to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In recent days, Kabul has also witnessed successive rains. Rainfall also affects the city's cleanliness. A day of clean air in Kabul has been less likely for at least the last five years.
Kabul's air becomes too polluted in winter. In the winter of last year, Kabul's air was so polluted that the Kabul municipality and the interior ministry were forced to ban the burning of smoke materials in wedding halls, manufacturing companies and private bathrooms.
Kabul has a population of about six million, and residents usually set fire to coal, plastic, and other materials to keep their homes warm in the winter or to power factories and heat bathhouses.
The country's citizens are urging the government to find a way to keep Kabul air clean forever.
“The weather is clear because a lot of cars don't travel in the city like normal days, and there is no dirt and pollution,” said Mirwais, a resident of Kabul.
“In the past when we used to leave the house, the air was very polluted, the cars produced a lot of smoke, there were heaters in the houses that burned coal,” said Rahmatullah Sanjar, another resident of Kabul.
According to the Ministry of Transport, 400,000 vehicles travel in Kabul every day, but only 5% have been on the streets since the lockdown began.
“There are now three to five percent of vehicles moving in the city, which are either government vehicles or transporting patients, or vehicles used for other essential reasons, in the city,” said Ali Sina Saed, Transport Ministry spokesman.
For years, Kabul has been considered one of the most polluted cities in the world, and with the onset of cold weather, Kabul's air pollution was rated as "hazardous."