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UN Environment - Focus on Afghanistan
UN Environment - Focus on Afghanistan
Published: 2016/10/07
Channel: UN Environment
Pul - Environmental Issues in Afghanistan, 2010
Pul - Environmental Issues in Afghanistan, 2010
Published: 2012/05/09
Channel: americaabroad
Environmental issues in Afghanistan VOA Ashna
Environmental issues in Afghanistan VOA Ashna
Published: 2015/11/26
Channel: VOA Pashto
Environmental issues in Afghanistan VOA Ashna
Environmental issues in Afghanistan VOA Ashna
Published: 2015/11/26
Channel: VoA Dari
Dr Javed Khan
Dr Javed Khan's take on environmental issues of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Published: 2017/01/13
Channel: Adil Shahzeb
Environmental Initiative: Beautify Afghanistan
Environmental Initiative: Beautify Afghanistan
Published: 2012/11/28
Channel: BayatFoundation
In Kabul, air pollution a bigger killer than war
In Kabul, air pollution a bigger killer than war
Published: 2011/06/09
Channel: AFP news agency
Breathing Hope into Kabul
Breathing Hope into Kabul
Published: 2010/08/12
Channel: UN Environment
Inside Story US 2012 - Are environmental issues being sacrificed?
Inside Story US 2012 - Are environmental issues being sacrificed?
Published: 2012/01/14
Channel: Al Jazeera English
Billions wasted in Afghanistan equipment drawdown
Billions wasted in Afghanistan equipment drawdown
Published: 2013/06/21
Channel: RT America
Is History Doomed to Repeat Itself in Afghanistan? (2009)
Is History Doomed to Repeat Itself in Afghanistan? (2009)
Published: 2016/06/14
Channel: Journeyman Pictures
Environmental issues in Pakistan
Environmental issues in Pakistan
Published: 2016/08/06
Channel: WikiWikiup
UNDP - Afghanistan
UNDP - Afghanistan
Published: 2012/06/26
Channel: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
2. Deforestation (Afghanistan).mov
2. Deforestation (Afghanistan).mov
Published: 2012/01/01
Channel: IELCVideo
Modadiq: Environmental policies in Afghanistan failed due to war
Modadiq: Environmental policies in Afghanistan failed due to war
Published: 2015/04/13
Channel: Lina Rozbih
Issues in Afghanistan
Issues in Afghanistan
Published: 2012/02/11
Channel: Travis Ramlow
Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest
Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest
Published: 2016/06/14
Channel: UNDP Afghanistan
The Other Side of Afghanistan (part 2/3)
The Other Side of Afghanistan (part 2/3)
Published: 2011/02/06
Channel: David Jensen
Mitra TV: Exclusive Report on Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest
Mitra TV: Exclusive Report on Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest
Published: 2016/07/10
Channel: UNDP Afghanistan
Morning Show on Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest
Morning Show on Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest
Published: 2016/07/04
Channel: UNDP Afghanistan
The Other Side of Afghanistan (part 1/3)
The Other Side of Afghanistan (part 1/3)
Published: 2011/02/06
Channel: David Jensen
Helping Afghanistan Become More Resilient to Natural Disasters
Helping Afghanistan Become More Resilient to Natural Disasters
Published: 2017/04/25
Channel: World Bank
Obama on Afghanistan:
Obama on Afghanistan: 'A Challenging Environment'
Published: 2010/09/10
Channel: CBS
Afghan environment protector in Washington
Afghan environment protector in Washington
Published: 2011/04/07
Channel: VOA Pashto
Experts Concerned Over Environmental Pollution In Afghanistan
Experts Concerned Over Environmental Pollution In Afghanistan
Published: 2016/03/05
Channel: TOLOnews
CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Published: 2015/11/21
Channel: De Betong
Environmental problems in Egypt
Environmental problems in Egypt
Published: 2013/02/24
Channel: Alexandre Marco da Silva
Afghanistan and Pakistan: Understanding a Complex Threat Environment
Afghanistan and Pakistan: Understanding a Complex Threat Environment
Published: 2011/11/13
Channel: HouseResourceOrg
Terrorism, War, and Bush 43: Crash Course US History #46
Terrorism, War, and Bush 43: Crash Course US History #46
Published: 2014/01/30
Channel: CrashCourse
11 BIGGEST Natural Disasters
11 BIGGEST Natural Disasters
Published: 2016/08/16
Channel: The BIGGEST
Understanding Central Asia: Afghanistan
Understanding Central Asia: Afghanistan
Published: 2010/01/13
Channel: SLJames
The Other Side of Afghanistan (part 3/3)
The Other Side of Afghanistan (part 3/3)
Published: 2011/02/06
Channel: David Jensen
#APYF2016     zahra hussaini (afghanistan)
#APYF2016 zahra hussaini (afghanistan)
Published: 2016/08/12
Channel: shafaq sohaila
River of milk -- Afghan dairy farmers prosper
River of milk -- Afghan dairy farmers prosper
Published: 2013/06/03
Channel: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Why Do Politicians Ignore Environmental Issues? Ft. Nina
Why Do Politicians Ignore Environmental Issues? Ft. Nina
Published: 2017/05/02
Channel: TheRealNews
Critics say Australia
Critics say Australia's environmental policy has regressed
Published: 2014/11/13
Channel: CGTN America
Galen Unold - LifeSouth - Afghanistan Issues
Galen Unold - LifeSouth - Afghanistan Issues
Published: 2015/09/22
Channel: WOCA The Source Radio
Enabling Environment Conference: Afghanistan
Enabling Environment Conference: Afghanistan
Published: 2015/08/17
Channel: Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
Afghanistan 1989 part 4 of 6
Afghanistan 1989 part 4 of 6
Published: 2010/08/06
Channel: alanheath3
NO 1 - اضرار زباله
NO 1 - اضرار زباله
Published: 2016/06/02
Channel: UNDP Afghanistan
Blowing Up Mountains: Destroying the Environment for Coal
Blowing Up Mountains: Destroying the Environment for Coal
Published: 2012/07/03
Channel: VICE
USA is contaminating the Middle East and Afghanistan with radioactive birth defect weapons
USA is contaminating the Middle East and Afghanistan with radioactive birth defect weapons
Published: 2012/01/30
Channel: 91177info
DRC: Concerns About Pollution and Garbage in Kinshasa
DRC: Concerns About Pollution and Garbage in Kinshasa
Published: 2013/05/28
Channel: VOA Learning English
Afghanistan 1989 part 6 of 6
Afghanistan 1989 part 6 of 6
Published: 2010/08/06
Channel: alanheath3
NO 3 - شهروند
NO 3 - شهروند
Published: 2016/06/02
Channel: UNDP Afghanistan
Informing Change in the Indus Basin (ICIB) – Afghanistan Media Dialogue
Informing Change in the Indus Basin (ICIB) – Afghanistan Media Dialogue
Published: 2017/03/29
Channel: iwmimedia
Afghanistan 1989 part 2 of 6
Afghanistan 1989 part 2 of 6
Published: 2010/08/06
Channel: alanheath3
Interview to Mihai Carp, NATO International Staff, Operations Division, Afghanistan Issues
Interview to Mihai Carp, NATO International Staff, Operations Division, Afghanistan Issues
Published: 2009/11/11
Channel: ORANGEmagazineVIDEO
What the Afghan women
What the Afghan women's cycling team taught me about life | Sarah Menzies | TEDxSacramentoSalon
Published: 2015/03/24
Channel: TEDx Talks
Enabling Environment Conference: Africa
Enabling Environment Conference: Africa
Published: 2015/08/17
Channel: Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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ISAF military vehicle passing by an Afghan shepherd in the Kapisa province of Afghanistan.

Environmental issues in Afghanistan predate the political turmoil of the past few decades. Forests and wetlands have been depleted by centuries of grazing and farming, practices which have only increased with modern population growth. In Afghanistan, environmental conservation and economic concerns are not at odds; with 80% of the population dependent on herding or farming, the welfare of the environment is critical to the economic welfare of the people.[1] In 2007, the World Health Organization released a report ranking Afghanistan as the lowest among non-African nations in deaths from environmental hazards.[2]

Deforestation[edit]

U.S. Army soldiers intercept illegal timber as it is smuggled through the Narang Valley the Kunar Province into neighboring Pakistan.

Much of the population depends on forests for firewood and the revenue generated by export of pistachios and almonds, which grow in natural woodlands in the central and northern regions. The Badghis and Takhar provinces have lost more than 50% of pistachio woodland. During the conflicts of the past few decades, residents and the militias such as the Northern Alliance have used wood for fuel, and these militia forces have cleared trees which could have provided hiding places for ambushes from their opponents. Further, the use of the woodlands for grazing ground and the collection of nuts for export apparently prevent new pistachio trees from growing.[1]

Denser forests in the eastern Nangarhar, Kunar, Nuristan, and other provinces are at risk from timber harvesting by timber mafia. Although the logging is illegal, profits from exporting the timber to neighboring Pakistan are very high. The reason for this is that Pakistani government has its forests tightly protected so the timber mafia are busy cutting down trees in Afghanistan instead. The timber makes its way not only to Peshawar but also to Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Lahore, where most of it is used to make expensive furnitures.

As forest cover decrease, the land becomes less and less productive, threatening the livelihood of the rural population and the floods are washing the agricultural lands and destroying the houses. Loss of vegetation also creates a higher risk of floods, which not only endanger the people, but cause soil erosion and decrease the amount of land available for agriculture. To tackle this problem, the Afghan government and agencies from a number of NATO states have teamed up over the past several years to turn Afghanistan green again by planting new trees.[3][4][5][6]

Wildlife[edit]

With very little government infrastructure to discourage hunting, and habitat disappearing because of conflict and drought, much of the country's wildlife is at risk. In 2006, Afghanistan and the Wildlife Conservation Society began a three-year project to protect wildlife and habitats along the Wakhan Corridor and Central Plateau regions.[7]

Little is known about the status of the salamander Batrachuperus mustersi, which is found only in the Hindu Kush.

Water management[edit]

A recently built irrigation system for better water management

The primary threat to Afghanistan's water supply is the droughts, which created food shortages for millions in the recent past.[8] The resulting agricultural crises between 1995 and 2001 have driven major migrations from rural to urban areas.[9] In response to drought, deep wells for irrigation have been drilled which decreased the under ground water level, further draining groundwater resources, which rely on rain for replenishment.

By 2003, about 99% of the Sistan wetlands were dry, another result of continued drought and lack of water management.[10] The wetlands, an important habitat for breeding and migrant waterfowl including the dalmatian pelican and the marbled teal, have provided water for agricultural irrigation for at least 5,000 years. They are fed by the Helmand River, which ran at 98% below average in drought years 2001-2003. As in other areas of the country, the loss of natural vegetation resulted in soil erosion; here, sandstorms submerged as many as 100 villages by 2003.[1]

Some of the major water reservoirs and dams include the following:

Pollution[edit]

Urban populations have swelled in the past several years. Since 2002, over 5 million former refugees living in Pakistan and Iran have returned home to Afghanistan. Many of these settled in the capital Kabul, which also include migrants that have come from drought-ravaged rural areas.

Nuclear waste by Pakistan[edit]

In 2008, the Afghan government alleged that Pakistan had dumped nuclear waste in southern Afghanistan during the Taliban rule (1994-2001). Farooq Wardak, Afghan Parliamentary affairs minister, said the government was setting up a commission to investigate the matter.[11] Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently announced that his administration will investigate the matter.

Domestic and industrial waste[edit]

Kabul City, the capital of Afghanistan

In 2002, the United Nations Environment Programme found that a lack of waste management systems was creating dangerous conditions in several urban areas.[1] In Kabul's districts 5 and 6, household and medical waste was discarded on streets. Human waste was contained in open sewers, which flowed into the Kabul River and contaminated the city’s drinking water.

Urban dumpsites are used in lieu of managed landfills in Kabul, Kandahar and Herat, often without protection of nearby rivers and groundwater supplies. Medical waste from hospitals is disposed in the dumpsites with the rest of the cities’ waste, contaminating water and air with bacteria and viruses.

Lack of sewage management is not unique to Kabul. In urban areas, open sewers are common while wastewater treatment is not. Much of the urban water supply is contaminated by Escherichia coli and other bacteria.

Oil refineries are another source of water contamination. In Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, crude oil spills and leaks are uncontained and unsafe levels of hydrocarbons reach residential water supplies.

Air pollution[edit]

Air pollution does not constitute a major problem in Afghanistan, but its reliance on inexpensive energy has created some issues. Most vehicles run on diesel fuel, and household energy often rely on burning wood and other materials. As a result, air pollution in urban areas is visible and may pose health issues.[1][12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment: Afghanistan" (PDF). United Nations Environment Programme. 2003. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  2. ^ "New country-by-country data show in detail the impact of environmental factors on health". World Health Organization. 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  3. ^ Ron Synovitz (March 24, 2004). "Afghanistan: Tree-Planting Effort Aims To Put Color Back In Kabul's Former 'Green Zone'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  4. ^ "Citizens Plant 1.2 Million Trees in Eastern Afghanistan". United States Agency for International Development. April 15, 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  5. ^ Lt. j.g. Keith Goodsell (March 7, 2011). "Key Afghan, US leadership plant trees for Farmer’s Day". United States Central Command. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  6. ^ "Tree-planting in Afghanistan to be discussed in San Anselmo event". marinij.com. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  7. ^ "Afghanistan To Protect Wildlife And Wild Lands". Science Daily. 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  8. ^ ACT International (Action by Churches Together) (2006-10-01). "ACT Alert: Afghanistan Drought". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  9. ^ "Drought Map, Understanding Afghanistan: Land in Crisis". National Geographic. 2001-11-15. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  10. ^ Alex Kirby (2003-02-07). "Afghan wetlands 'almost dried out'". BBC. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  11. ^ Vennard, Martin (1 April 2008). "Pakistan 'dumped nuclear waste'". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  12. ^ "Afghanistan’s Environmental Casualties". Mother Jones. 2002-03-06. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 

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