Over 8,500 people were diagnosed with respiratory conditions over the past one week due to air pollution in Kabul, officials of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Saturday as the thick layer of smoke continues to cover the nation's capital.
Kabul is ranked one of the world’s most polluted cities.
Residents on Friday once again blasted the government for not outlining a working strategy to curb pollution in the country’s most congested city.
They said that despite the recent snowfall, which to some extent cleared the air, pollution is still causing severe health problems.
“During the week over 8530 people were diagnosed with respiratory disease at hospitals in Kabul. Cold and air pollution can be considered key factors behind the illness,” said Nizamuddin Jalil, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health.
“The officials who are in charge of working for the environment have not taken practical actions to reduce pollution,” said Noor Ahmad, a resident in Kabul.
“Every person in the society needs to contribute in keeping the environment clean,” said Abul Rab, a resident in Kabul.
“So far we have assessed over 300 places including public bathrooms, restaurants and other related sites. We have closed 126 of them, another 100 places were asked to repair their system,” said Mohammad Qasim Rahimi, head of the media department of the National Environment Protection Agency.
Last month, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health claimed that at least 17 people died of respiratory infections and pollution-related illnesses in a single week, all due--according to the ministry--to the polluted air in the city.