The project “World Air Quality Index” by World’s Air Pollution has ranked Dushanbe among cities with the most polluted and hazardous air. The organization’s report was based on data collected from an air monitor located at the US Embassy in Dushanbe.
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However, the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of Tajikistan believes that data from one indicator is not enough to fully assess the weather in Dushanbe. Officials believe that the environmental situation in Tajikistan is much better in comparison with other Central Asian countries.
Umejon Ulugov, an ecology teacher and social activist, believes that the main threat of pollution is the transport. Many of worn-out cars, he said, do not meet environmental requirements.
According to Hasan Sherov, an employee of the Dushanbe Environmental Protection Department, over 80,000 vehicles move along the roads of the capital every day, producing over 35,000 tons of waste.
However, Dushanbe residents speak of their concern over emissions from industrial plants and the capital’s CHP-2, built by the Chinese company TBEA (Tebian Electric Apparatus).
“They say that the cement factory throws out dust in the city all the time. And they also say that some enterprises process metals, which also pollutes the air,” said one of the residents of Dushanbe.
Bakhrom Soliev, who lives in a four-story building near the factory, says that when the plant’s two pipes are in operation, it is difficult for people to breathe.
“In the morning at the neighbours who live downstairs, cars, windows – everything is covered with dust. Fortunately, we live on higher stories, we have less dust. But when two pipes of the cement factory are in operation, it is also difficult for us to breathe,” he says.
Environmentalists also argue that many urban enterprises use coal as a raw material for energy generation. According to them, there are 24 enterprises in the city that generate heat by burning coal fuel.
There are many similar construction enterprises in Dushanbe that are heated with wood.
The city’s numerous landfills also contribute to air pollution. Contrary to the prohibitions of the authorities, garbage is sometimes burned right on the street.
Mokhsharif Juraeva, an elderly Dushanbe resident, says the skies were mostly clear in previous winters, but now everything has changed.
“This dirty air has a particular effect on people with high blood pressure like me. It is very difficult for my husband, who suffers from goiter, to breathe in such conditions,” says Juraeva.
Allergists say that a number of allergic diseases grow when air is polluted, including bronchial asthma, allergic tracheobronchitis and others. With this in mind, doctors recommend using disposable masks at this time when going out into the streets, more often doing wet cleaning at home or using a vacuum cleaner.
This material has been prepared as part of the Giving Voice, Driving Change – from the Borderland to the Steppes Project. The opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the position of the editorial board or the donor.