Environmental Issues of Afghanistan

Eng.Hashmat ELP 2004 ParticipantAfghanistan is one of the countries that is located in central part of Asia. It is bordered by Iran on the west, Pakistan on the east and south, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan on the north and China (a narrow strip – Wakhan) in the north east. Its capital is Kabul. Afghanistan is officially known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its total area is about 647, 497 sq km1. War in Afghanistan during the late 20th century, caused substantial population displacement with millions of refugees fleeing into Pakistan and Iran. Generally, the regional ethnicity remains the same as it had been before the unrest.

Environmental problems being experienced in the country
If we were to compare the environmental situation of Afghanistan with other developing countries, the situation in Afghanistan is indeed terrible. The natural environment has been significantly damaged because of natural disasters such as drought, and three continuous decades of civil war. In the past decades, there has been a lack of infrastructure development, unplanned increase of population with fragmented expansion and lack of law enforcement which has intensified problems. The people have low awareness about environmental issues. The government lacks the capacity to realize the importance of different environmental issues. Lack of understanding and ignorance of this vital issue has a negative impact on the whole nation. Environmental sustainability and protection will directly depend on strong leadership, sustainable management and continued follow up.

Causes and factors of these environmental problems in Afghanistan
In general, the destruction of the environment is brought about by two factors: (1) natural; and (2) human-induced.

Natural causes of environmental problems in the country
Afghanistan located in a mountainous and tropical area. The country is partially warm and dry, where the annual rainfall is significantly less than the average annual rainfall compared to the rest of the world. Most of the country in the southern, south western, western, and north consists of large plain deserts. Hence, the government needs to consider solutions for the revival of the pastures and forests.

Flood is the main natural factor which destroys agricultural lands and removes the surface soil. Also some times, land slides affect land and destroy houses in some places.

Human-induced causes of environmental problems in the country
Three decades of war has had a negative impact on the country’s environmental resources. In the past, there were different factors as to why environmental resources were not protected. First of all, the central government was not capable of controlling the destruction of the natural resources, intentionally or unintentionally carried out by the people. Secondly, there was no proper strategy or plan for protection of the environment. The third factor is the poor economy of the people which forces them to cut the forest and trees for fuel purposes. The fourth factor is the lack of social awareness among citizens about protection of their environment. As a result, in the absence of an efficient government with no proper reform strategy for social, political and environmental issues, there has been no growth or development.

For further information, outlined below are some human indicated factors.

Direct effects of human-centric activities on the environment:

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