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Air Pollution Claimed Almost 5,000 Lives In Afghanistan Last Year

An aerial view shows the Afghan capital, Kabul, blanketed with heavy smog on January 6.

Nearly 5,000 people died in Afghanistan last year due to respiratory and heart diseases considered to have been caused by air pollution, according to the Afghan Health Ministry.

Ministry figures show that some 10 percent of those deaths were reported in the capital, Kabul, dpa reported.

The head of Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, Dr. Abdullah Ahmadi, told the German news agency that an average of 20 patients with respiratory diseases visit the hospital every day.

“Most of these problems are because of air pollution,” he said.

An official at the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) said excessive use of coal during winter, old vehicles that produce large quantities of smoke, and unpaved roads were the main reasons for increasing air pollution.

The problem is also exacerbated by electricity shortages, high petrol prices, and low-quality fuel.

Air pollution is a global problem that kills an estimated 7 million people globally every year, according to the World Health Organization.

Based on reporting by dpa