Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fecal Pollution in Kabul


New York Times
22 January 2013

Kabul Journal


KABUL, Afghanistan - It has long been a given that the air pollution in this city gets horrific: on average even worse than Beijing's infamous haze, by one measure.

For nearly as long, there has been the widespread belief by foreign troops and officials here that - let's be blunt here - feces are a part of the problem.

Canadian soldiers were even warned about it in predeployment briefings, which cited reports that one test had found that as many as 30 percent of air samples contained fecal particles. The Canadians were worried enough that the government ordered a formal investigation, officials say.

"I've heard that story for 40 years," said Andrew Scanlon, the head of the United Nations Environment Program here, who dismissed it as an urban legend. "I think the need by diplomats for danger-pay raises is what has kept reports of fecal matter danger very high." [...]