[ti:Pollution in Afghanistan: More Dangerous Than War?]
[00:00.04]Yousuf and his family left their home in eastern Afghanistan eight years ago.
[00:07.72]They went to the city of Kabul to escape war, but they could not escape sadness.
[00:15.04]Five of Yousuf's children died in the Afghan capital, not from violence, but from air pollution.
[00:23.48]One by one, each child developed a chest infection and other health problems from the pollution.
[00:32.43]The children never made it to age seven, Yousuf told The Associated Press.
[00:38.80]The 60-year-old has nine surviving children.
[00:43.60]There are no official numbers on how many Afghans die of pollution-related disorders.
[00:50.85]But the research group State of Global Air said that in 2017,
[00:57.43]more than 26,000 deaths could be linked to air pollution.
[01:02.88]In comparison, 3,483 civilians were killed that year in the Afghan war, the United Nations reports.
[01:14.60]Kabul has become one of the most polluted cities in the world.
[01:19.56]It rates at the top of the list among other polluted capitals such as India's New Delhi or Beijing, China.
[01:29.80]Kabul is home to about 6 million people.
[01:33.65]On many days, a mix of smog and smoke lies over the city.
[01:39.85]In some cases, families burn whatever they can to keep warm in cold weather.
[01:47.45]The air in their own homes then poisons them.
[01:52.12]Household pollution was partly to blame for at least 19,400
[01:59.47]of Kabul's deaths in 2017, the State of Global Air study found.
[02:06.88]Yousuf lives in a camp that is home to more than a hundred families.
[02:12.92]"We are so poor, and we have lots of problems...
[02:16.76]My children collect garbage from dump yards
[02:20.47]and we use it for cooking and heating to keep the kids warm," he said.
[02:26.72]Many years of war have worsened the damage to Afghanistan's environment.
[02:32.96]Environmental issues are less important
[02:36.42]for a government struggling with security issues and a sinking economy.
[02:42.52]Thirty or 40 years ago, "it was a wish for people to come to Kabul and breath this air,"
[02:50.53]said Ezatullah Sediqi, deputy director for the National Environmental Protection Agency, or NEPA.
[03:00.60]But in the wars since, "we lost all our urban infrastructure for water,
[03:06.40]electricity, public transportation, green areas, all these things," he said.
[03:14.00]Kabul's environmental department has launched a program
[03:18.29]to control old vehicles, one major source of pollution.
[03:23.43]"Fighting pollution is as important as fighting terrorism,"
[03:28.13]said Mohammad Kazim Humayoun, the department's director.
[03:33.68]Afghan officials warn that this winter will likely be colder than usual.
[03:39.36]At Kabul's Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital, doctors say
[03:45.01]they have seen the numbers of patients with pollution-related health problems increase.
[03:52.12]Saifullah Abassin, a specialist trainer at the hospital,
[03:57.16]said his hospital ward has a capacity of 10 patients but often has three times that number.
[04:05.68]The government has launched an environmental awareness campaign.
[04:11.52]City officials have also called on people to stop burning garbage for heat and instead use fuel.
[04:20.56]But there are other steps officials need to take,
[04:24.26]such as enacting a plan to stop unplanned development and creating more green spaces.
[04:31.71]Sediqi, of the NEPA, said that ever since the first post-Taliban government
[04:39.20]was created in 2001, there was no planning on urban infrastructure.
[04:45.20]"Unfortunately, that led to unplanned development," he said.
[04:51.11]"So now we have numerous urban problems and challenges
[04:56.59]and organizational challenges, which is causing the environmental pollution."
[05:03.00]I'm John Russell. 更多聽力請訪問51VOA.COM