There are many ways in which manufacturing can improve in consideration to the environment. In the past little thought has been given to sewage, waste products, bi-products or effluent discharge into the environment without prior treatment. This has led to gradual degradation and poisoning of the water table, soil and air in many developing nations.
The present government must take care in its future policies to respect its environment by simply creating an independent environmental body run by professional scientists whose sole duty it will be to safeguard the environment against misuse of power, as has been the case in many developed and developing countries all for the sake of a short term profit.
Afghanistan does have a ministry of water where an environmental capacity exists in name only. Therefore it must be stressed that a comprehensive environmental policy be given precedence. All projects prior to approval, must have a seal of approval from this body.
There are many issues that need addressing, and some of these I will attempt to discuss:
The immediate problem with cities in Afghanistan is that none have clean running services water and there is no sewage system whatsoever. This I am sure you are aware does not paint a good picture. I am amazed that after 3 whole years little has been done to address this problem. The main problem is the bureaucracy which withholds funds for the right project.
No planning department was set up, however many experts have come and gone with their interpretation of what should be done, including their costs. On the main page you will see a report outlining the problem and the respective departments that have been established to oversee these foreseeable projects.
The people arranging this work plan are a group from the World Bank, ADB (Asia Development Bank) and some advisors. A list of these persons can be found at the bottom of seminar reports as that of the 27 November (pdf 125Kb). After reading the reports especially the one regarding Securing Afghanistan's future World Band & Afghan
Ministry of Finance et al.- Natural Resources - report (835KB PDF only),
you will come to your own conclusions about what exactly has been
accomplished to date. Not very much. People in Kabul (The Capital) don't
have running water. Yes admittedly there are manual pumps in the streets where one can siphon water out, but
only about 10-20% of them work. This was an enterprising effort on behalf
of some NGO, for which people should be grateful. But as far as the
Government is concerned, little has been done. In actual fact more has
been undone by the authorities than done. Reason for this is the
corruption which is prevalent in every department of this government,
anyone willing to make improvements to their rundown home will have to find
the money to get the planning permission, and this permission is nothing
to do with the design approval, but with the amount of bribe you can
muster. In any case, this type of corrupt departmental procedures is the
first duty of this government to stamp out, however I do not think that
this is going to be easy.
The main problem is salary structure of the civil servants. They do not get paid very much. Then again they don't do very much. Most days are spent with the ritual signing in and then because there is no work, they leave their post. Then again with an average salary of $50-$100 per month one cannot expect more. The reason there is no work is because the so called decision makers cannot decide what to do.
Let alone the water there is sporadic bouts of electricity, which after 3 whole years still has not been resolved. If only some of the Billions that have been spent could have gone to rebuilding the transmission lines and turbines, then at least there would be electricity to pump the water.
There is no sewage system in the country let alone the capital. Most of the homes that were built have a run-off to a 3 meter below the surface hold. This dug out pit with no lining whatsoever holds the waste water and bio waste. In the old days it used to be cleaned out manually and the this used to be used for fertilizer locally. This still is the norm and is still being conducted, however most homes do not have any type of opening to this hold and therefore it has been filling up and polluting the wells which are adjacent.
Some houses have their own wells, however this is expensive. A typical well will cost in the region of $1500. But then you have the problem of getting the water out. In the early days one could find water only 15 meters down, however, now its more like 50 meters if not more.
There have been suggestions to build sewer systems resembling those of Europe. This is sheer folly as Afghanistan is not a wet country and the water required to move this sewage is just not there. It is wasteful to throw good water after bad. It would be wiser to have large built holding tanks for each and every home or building. Each building will pay it's dues and the government should be responsible to clean these on a regular basis. Not only will this cost less, but it will be more practical and quicker to install.
There is no incentive by the Government to get the people to use energy
efficient light bulbs. Although good energy saving light bulbs
exist in the market at $3,00 (off white resembling normal bulbs), many
people find this too expensive and continue to buy to old ones at
$0.35c. If we assume that there are 60,000 homes with electricity
and assume that each home has 4 light bulbs at 100 watts. This would
equate to approx. 24 MWatts per hour if all lights were used. If you
change all these lights to energy saving light bulbs, then assuming the
saving on one light bulb is 80 Watts, or 80% then the saving would equate
to 19Mw per hour. This saving is equivalent to $3000 per Hour
or assuming 4 hours utilisation $11,500 per day. This is $4,2
million per year. The cost of bulbs is $720,000. Now I say to myself, is
there anyone that can think in this Government ?. Now if one
outlawed the import of the other lightbulbs and the government just bought
directly, this would be yet an added saving, say $1.00 per bulb to buy
that would use 20 watts, but would have the same luminescence as an old
Edison/Latimer/Brush/Swan & not to forget Sir Humphrey Davy Carbon/Tungsten
Filament. With all this saving one can assume that most turbines in most
Dams across the country would be repaired for free, but who's
The following sites and documents will give further information
Gene Manufactured Seeds and their risks
Why GM seeds are unsafe
Afghan enviromental Transition Study December 2002 ( PDF 2,157Kb)
Environmentally friendly Paints and other products - Avro Paints
"The Key Position
of Solar Raw Materials" (PDF)
Water pollution table tensometer , mesures water pollution direction under soil
Report on Co2 recovery in a power plant - use co2 back as injected gas
in fissures of lime stone ..
....read moreReport (pdf 124kb)