26 June 2017

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Saturday June 10, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Environmental pollution in Kabul city has been recently threatening the life of nearly six million population of the city. Environmental experts and citizens are seriously criticizing relevant organs for not paying attention in this regard and saying that such organs have no programs for prevention of this silent tsunami.
Air pollution is considered as one of the key causes of diseases and mortality in the world and based on WHO tolls it kills more than 60 million people annually across the world.
Air pollution in our country particularly in Kabul city is threatening the life of people. Increasing of population, existence of hundreds thousands of vehicles, brick factories, manufacturing factories, lack of electricity, making use of generators and coals are the main reasons for polluting the air in the city.
Medical and scientific researchers have shown that 20% of cancers in the world are caused by harmful gases in the air. Besides, air pollution and other harmful gases are causing other diseases as asthma, hear problems, stroke, early mortality and mental diseases.
Air pollution and existence of trashes in Kabul city has become a new subject with old pains beside other concerns as security, immigrations and unemployment in the city.
Hovering particles in the air are putting negative impacts on living things including human beings, animals and environment and cause that sunlight not directly shines. Based on environmental experts’ research, the ash of coal is more dangerous than using coal as most of the people in Kabul use coal during winter season in order to warm their homes. Using of coal cause increasing of various types of cancers, in fact.
Ways for counter air pollution and trashes in Kabul city in democratic governments are organized through three ways as taxing policy on imported low-quality goods, direct financial support from staffs creating little pollution and codification of effective laws and regulations for protection of environment.
According to head of environment protection authority Mustafa Zahir, 72 % pollution is created by vehicles, while the rest is created by brick factories, public bathrooms burning coal and others.  He said there were nearly 1.2 million cars in Kabul city where nearly 600 new plates are monthly distributed in the city. Most of car in the city are old-aged and second hand, adding that the only way to address the problem was to cut down the number of cars and prevent bakeries and bathrooms from using coal.
Meanwhile, residents in the city are seriously criticizing for existence of pollution and trashes and saying air pollution is increasing day by day.
At the end, we reach to a conclusion that both the people and government are guilty for paying attention in this regard. The government should make effort and make use of its all possibilities on hand for improvement of environment in the city and the people should pay attention to their life and health.
Lailuma Noori
 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Indeed, Afghan children are subjected to extreme poverty and violence on a daily basis. Their situation is in fact critical: child mortality, malnutrition, forced marriages, sexual abuse…
Almost one half of the Afghan population (46%) lives below the poverty line. According to UN statistics, Afghanistan is the second poorest country in the world. The gross national income per citizen equals 370 dollars per year. By way of example, a judge or a teacher earns about 50 dollars per month.
The child mortality rate is particularly high in Afghanistan and, according to international records, life expectancy at birth is considered to be the lowest.
Statistics show that 35% of newborns are underweight. Even today, 87% of deliveries take place in the pregnant mother’s home and usually with no proper medical assistance. This is so because in the highly patriarchal Afghan society women do not often get permission to leave their home, even to go to the hospital. Therefore, 1 woman out of 8 dies during delivery.
A very limited number of hospitals exist in Afghanistan. Sometimes, one would have to travel across hundreds of kilometers to reach one of these hospitals. Furthermore, the medical officers lack proper training and appropriate equipment.
In addition, approximately 70% of the population does not have access to drinking water, which in turn results in a lot of health problems, especially among the younger children.
Education:
Today, only around 60% of Afghan children are sent to schools and only 28% of the adult population is literate. In addition, the education system is lacking infrastructure. In Kabul the number of students in some classes rises up to 60.
Afghanistan also holds the saddening record of being the country which has the highest number of terrorist attacks aimed at schools, at girls schools in particular. Even though the abolition of the Taliban has made way for children to go back to school, progress has yet to be made when it comes to ensuring the security of students and guaranteeing the right to education of every Afghan child.
Child labor
In Afghanistan, around 20% of children are expected to work in order to provide for themselves and for their family. Street vendors, water carriers, cardboard collectors, shoe polishers, taxi solicitors, domestic servants, assistants in boutiques, are the kind of odd jobs done by Afghan children.
The child plays an important economic role in the Afghan family structure, mainly because the little money earned by their parents is hardly enough to feed the hungry mouths in the family. Additionally, due to cultural practices, Afghan mothers rarely choose to seek employment outside their homes. In this situation, the family relies upon the economic contribution of the child, even if it means the child is left begging on the streets.
The consequences which follow their obligation to work are indeed tragic: absence of education, police violence and disease linked to pollution and to the drastically changing climate (In summer the temperature goes as high as 40°C or more and in winter the temperature could go down to -20°C)
Young Afghans are often made victims of violence. In 2009, around 250 children were killed during terrorist attacks.
Moreover, many among them are victims of sexual abuse. About 1,500 incidents are recorded each year; unfortunately, the majority of the victims do not dare to reveal the unpleasant experiences they have gone through. Furthermore, most often the perpetrators are not taken to courts due to political reasons (former war lords or members of the government, corruption, etc). Only a serious change in attitude would save the Afghan children from being considered as objects prone to exploitation.
Under the Taliban regime, thousands of Afghans under the age of 18 were enrolled in terrorist groups, in one way or another. They were first “brain washed”, then given training on the handling of weapons, and finally sent to war. Certain children, barely 6 years of age, were even used as child suicide bombers.
In the beginning of 2011, Afghanistan signed an agreement with the United Nations to stop the recruitment of children into the national police; after it was included in the blacklist of the UNO since 2010. Thus the government takes the first step in an important process which could soon mark the end of the era of child soldiers and would help the already traumatized ex-combatants to reintegrate into civilian life.
There are thousands of orphans in Afghanistan; this is, in fact, a direct consequence of the armed conflict which ravaged the country. Nevertheless, only a very few children are left to their own devices since the Afghan culture, mainly based on Muslim principles, makes it obligatory for Afghans to help children in need. Thus, orphans are generally taken in by members of the family or certain others in the village.
Unfortunately, some “adoptive parents” treat these children as if they were little slaves. Sometimes the orphans are discriminated amidst the guardian’s own children and their education is given secondary attention.
One can frequently observe a very strong desire towards employment by an orphaned child just in order to “pay back” his adoptive family as a mark of gratitude. It is necessary to create organizations which would allow the children access to education and which would also listen to them in an appropriate manner, providing proper care. A national plan for the protection of the child has already been launched to improve the situation.
The presence of numerous land mines in Afghanistan still results in regular accidents, sometimes even fatal ones, especially among the very young who often fail to recognize such sites. Many Afghan children are handicapped due to land mine explosions. Awareness campaigns and land mine clearance programs have been put in place by the government as well as by certain NGOs. Their objective is to free Afghan soil of landmines by the year 2013.
Between 2000 and 2009, almost 40% of young women, when interviewed, confided that they were given in marriage before the age of 18. These early marriages could result in serious health problems among young women, especially when these young women are not yet ready to go through the experience of pregnancy.
Only 6% of births are officially recorded in Afghanistan. As a result the majority of Afghan children have neither an official identity nor a nationality. They are invisible in the eyes of society.
This is particularly problematic for Afghan children who are refugees after having fled the war. In refugee camps located in Pakistan or in Iran the number of child refugees can be up to 1.5 million. These children find their status illegal and thus they are not entitled to any sort of a civil right as a citizen in the country because they do not have an official legal existence.
The Afghan criminal law does not differentiate between major crimes and minor offences. Despite the penal code for persons under the age of 18, adapted in the year 2005, in practice there is no alternative to prison for a child offender.
This is in fact contrary to the article 40 of the International Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Yet owing to the work done by numerous ONGs, progress can be observed in some regions. The legal system should, however, go through a general improvement in order to attain a state where child rights are considered more important than in the present situation.
Karima Malikzada
 

Monday June 5, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Kabul is one of the crowded provinces of Afghanistan with 939 villages and 14 districts. 
The population in the capital is increasingly growing by each passing day, where seven million people are currently living in. Unfortunately, lack of urban culture among citizens has caused increasing air pollution in the city. Recently, the air pollution particularly in early winter mornings and late evenings has considerably increased in Afghanistan especially in the capital Kabul, resulted to face the people with different types of respiratory diseases.
Deputy international relations of Afghanistan’s National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) told that there are many natural and unnatural factors behind recent air pollution in the city.
To prevent air pollution, the national environment protection agency has different programs, including holding awareness programs and collection of garbage from around the city. Likewise, the NEPA said, ‘the air pollution problem will be tackled if the government works on some programs, particularly on installation of gas system in all houses.’
Furthermore, if the government makes effort to decrease the price of gas, it will provide the way to prevent environment pollution. At the same time, a number of doctors while expressing concern on air pollution said, ‘the environment pollution has increased in Afghanistan particularly, in Kabul, warning if the government doesn’t pay serious heed to this problem, living in many cities will be very difficult after five years.’ Dr. Najib who works in a hospital said, ‘density of population, construction of high-rise buildings and many other factors are the reasons behind environment pollution.’ This is while that the government and related organizations have done much to prevent air pollution in the country, but unfortunately, their efforts have gone in vain and nothing considerable done in the respect.
Based on figures released by the health organs, annually, around 3,000 people lose their lives due to air pollution in Afghanistan. Air pollution in Kabul is the result of three decades civil war in Afghanistan. Civil war has completely demolished the infrastructure of the country. As a result, the nation is tolerating different sorts of problems such as pollution, security threats, unemployment, poverty and illiteracy. All the mentioned dilemmas are highly considerable issues, but the environmental issues and air pollution are negatively threatening the daily life of citizens, especially in Kabul city which is the most populated city in the country.
Ansari
 

Saturday June 3, 2017

Kabul (BNA) A number of women wearing yellow uniforms are busy in cleaning and sweeping roads in Kabul, the capital city. They seem happy of the given opportunities to work, but most of these women have problems in their works. Gul Jan, a displaced woman from Baghlan, told that she preferred to work as a sweeper a month before due to the fact that she was miserable and poor; therefore she was appointed in Kabul municipality. “I am happy to work for Kabul municipality and participate in cleaning of the city along with men because I can also support my family and make a living”, Gul Jan added. Another female sweeper, Sabria said, “Severe life condition has made me recently beg money on streets and roads, but thanks to God that I am employed here and proud to work and sweep streets so that I can make a living and maintain the needs of my children and family”.
Complaining of street harassment, Sabria added, “While working on streets, a number of people harass us and make us fun. I do not know why such kinds of people do not stop harassing us and other women on streets. I am asking my people first and then the government and security forces to cooperate with us in this regard as we are obliged to work and making a living.” According to director of city cleaning department for Kabul municipality Ahmad Behzad Ghyasi, the plan for appointing women in cleaning section has been executed by leading body of the municipality so that women would be deployed as sweepers and work shoulder to shoulder with men on streets of Kabul. “We started appointment of female workers as sweepers and cleaners five months ago under certain circumstances that their ages should be from 18 – 65 and have the ability to work. Currently 14 women have been appointed as sweepers in 4th district of the city and fortunately with the help of UN Habitat, nearly 2000 workers have been appointed within directorate of cleaning department”, Ghayasi added.
He considered appointment of female workers as sweepers and cleaners in the city as improvement in cleaning of the city as well as addressing problems facing vulnerable and miserable families. He added that currently 411 female workers have been appointed in eight different districts of the city, saying that a number of the workers appointed by Kabul municipality were given 6000 AFG salary per-month, while those appointed by UN Habitat were paid 150 $ each month. According to directorate of cleaning department, efforts are underway to continue the process.
Karima Malikzada
 

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