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Lowering underground water deemed ‘catastrophic’

Lowering underground water deemed ‘catastrophic’

Dec 29, 2016 - 19:21

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Experts say the lowering underground water level and water pollution in capital Kabul city is ‘worrying and catastrophic’ and ask the government to take serious steps towards resolving the issue.

They expressed the remarks on Thursday at an academic seminar titled ‘Studying Kabul water crisis, challenges and solutions’ organised by a civil societyinfo-icon institute with the help of Gawharshad Institute of Higher Educationinfo-icon.

The experts said the underground water level in Kabul had lowered by 22 metres over the past 20 years, and 41 percent of the water had been polluted, contributing to risks to people’s lives.

Abdul Hakeem Zaryab, a professor at Kabul’s Polytechnic University and a specialist in underground water, said the lack of sewage system, urban canalization and a proper system of collecting and trucking out solid waste and a lack of standard septic tanks were reasons behind the decreased level and pollution of water.

Other factors were excessive use of water from wells, use of chemical fertilsers in farmlands, construction of substandard high buildings and flow of surface water mixed with rain-induced water and toilet water in a single stream.

Mohammad Mirzai, another professor and environmental expert, said the growing population in Kabul and absence of a proper management of underground water had resulted in an unprecedented decrease in water level over the past one year. The water level has decreased by eight metres in one year alone.

He expressed concern over continued lowering of underground water level and said: “Until a proper programme for managing the underground water isn’t carried out, a big water catastrophe will loom large in Kabul.”

If contamination of water was not prevented and serious steps were not taken, the underground water would soon be undrinkable in Kabul, he warned.

Government officials weren’t present at the seminar; however, National Environmental Protection Agency also warned if the government didn’t pay attention to improving sanitation in Kabul and other cities, underground water would be polluted in next five years in big cities such as capital Kabul.

Officials say 40 percent of underground water is currently unhealthy in Kabul. Kabul with a population of four million people is one of Afghanistaninfo-icon’s major cities, whose residents lack access to clean water.


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