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Salamati Special Issue on Environmental Health
Volume 34, First Quarter 2007
There is a saying “when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”. Afghanistan is the country that seemingly trembled in continuous war. More than two decades of war in the county has caused severe damage to the environment: environment management systems are destroyed, infrastructures are damaged, agricultural activities are hindered, water sources are heavily spoiled and contaminated, forests and woodlands have disappeared, people are driven into cities already lacking basic public amenities, and air is contaminated. This degradation of environment has very bad effect on health.
The majority of diseases and deaths occurring in our country are linked to environmental factors. Unsafe drinking water and sanitation or air pollution are, for instance, the main cause of many health problems in our country. Yet clean water and air are among the basic requirement of human health and well being. In large part of Afghanistan, people do not have access to these basic needs.
Most of the water sources used by people are contaminated. Lack of access to safe drinking water has many adverse effects on human health and well being.
Air pollution, especially in urban areas of Afghanistan, poses a significant threat to health. Dust, vehicles emissions and smoke are main factors negatively affecting air quality. The number of vehicles which is increasing day by day, unpaved roads, deforestation, elimination of green areas, and burning of materials which causes toxic fumes are amongst the factors which worsen the quality of the air.
In this issue of Salamati, you can read different articles on important aspect of environment and health. You will read articles on the current situation of environment in Afghanistan, the relation of environment and health, the importance of personal and environmental hygiene, water quality, air quality, and how health workers can improve health condition of their community.
We would like to thank Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, National Environment Protection Agency, United Nations Environment Program, Afghan Conservation Corps, Solidarities, Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, and German Technical Cooperation and Group energies renouvelables, environment et solidarities for their valuable help in preparing the topics of this magazine.
All readers are asked to convey messages of the magazine to others so that we can raise awareness of the people about our environment and contribute to the health of Afghan population.
Enjoy your reading,
Dr Najibullah Hamid