Kabul: 17 killed by dangerous levels of air pollution | News

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At least 17 people died of respiratory infections in Kabul during the past week due to dangerous levels of air pollution, the Afghanistan Ministry of Health said.

More than 8,800 patients have visited government hospitals in a week, suffer from health problems, including lung problems, such asgo quality exacerbated in the capital, Vice Minister of Public Health, Fida Mohammad Paikan, told reporters on Monday.

Officials have begun to take strong measures against local businesses that are believed to be the main contributors to air pollution in Kabul after Afghan President Leila Samani asked them for a spokeswoman for the National Agency for Environmental Protection of Afghanistan to the news agency dpa.

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Three wedding halls and two property management offices were closed for causing pollution related to heating, the municipality and the environmental agency on Sunday night.

Residents have been urged to reduce the use of coal, waste tires and heating plastics, Samani said.

The main cause of pollution is poverty and lack of electricity, residents say, adding that without cheaper gas and electricity it would be impossible to solve the problem.

Authorities say the use of non-standard fuel, lack of green spaces, unpaved roads and unplanned settlements are other factors that contribute to pollution and polluted air in Kabul.

The government plans to launch an awareness campaign in mosques in Kabul in the coming days and Environmental activists have launched a campaign to distribute facial masks.

Around 22 government institutions have joined for the campaign to overcome air pollution in the city.

Kabul is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies