A Fate Worse Than Death - Air Pollution, Smog, Straddle Kabul

Published January 22nd, 2019 - 08:00 GMT

Kabul residents, this winter, face deadly threat: Air pollution.

For weeks a thick layer of toxic smog has blanketed the sprawling city of Kabul as cold air traps pollution caused by people burning coal, wood, car tyres and even garbage to stay warm.

The choking contamination peaks in evenings and early mornings when temperatures plunge below zero.

Dangerous particulate matter, including toxins like sulphate and black carbon, hang in the air like a thick curtain, reducing visibility and making breathing difficult.

Residents complain the air is getting worse, a view supported by doctors who report a sharp rise in respiratory illnesses.

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In this photograph, an Afghan resident rides a bicycle with his face covered amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph, an Afghan resident rides a bicycle with his face covered amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture, an Afghan day labourer stands next to a wheelbarrow at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture, an Afghan day labourer stands next to a wheelbarrow at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture, an Afghan day labourer sits next to a pile of coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture, an Afghan day labourer sits next to a pile of coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture taken on January 8, 2019, Afghan labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture taken on January 8, 2019, Afghan labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture, Afghan day labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this picture, Afghan day labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph 2019, Afghan workers fill sacks with coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph 2019, Afghan workers fill sacks with coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph, Afghan charcoal vendors warm up around a fire amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph, Afghan charcoal vendors warm up around a fire amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph an Afghan resident wearing a face mask walks along an overpass amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph an Afghan resident wearing a face mask walks along an overpass amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph an Afghan child suffering from respiratory problems is treated by medical staff at the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital in Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph an Afghan child suffering from respiratory problems is treated by medical staff at the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital in Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph an Afghan resident walks along a dirt path amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph an Afghan resident walks along a dirt path amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

This photograph shows a general view of residential areas amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

This photograph shows a general view of residential areas amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP

In this photograph, an Afghan resident rides a bicycle with his face covered amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, an Afghan day labourer stands next to a wheelbarrow at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, an Afghan day labourer sits next to a pile of coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture taken on January 8, 2019, Afghan labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, Afghan day labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph 2019, Afghan workers fill sacks with coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph, Afghan charcoal vendors warm up around a fire amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan resident wearing a face mask walks along an overpass amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan child suffering from respiratory problems is treated by medical staff at the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital in Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan resident walks along a dirt path amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
This photograph shows a general view of residential areas amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph, an Afghan resident rides a bicycle with his face covered amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph, an Afghan resident rides a bicycle with his face covered amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, an Afghan day labourer stands next to a wheelbarrow at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, an Afghan day labourer stands next to a wheelbarrow at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, an Afghan day labourer sits next to a pile of coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, an Afghan day labourer sits next to a pile of coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture taken on January 8, 2019, Afghan labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture taken on January 8, 2019, Afghan labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, Afghan day labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this picture, Afghan day labourers work at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph 2019, Afghan workers fill sacks with coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph 2019, Afghan workers fill sacks with coal at a coal yard amid heavy smog conditions in the outskirts of Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph, Afghan charcoal vendors warm up around a fire amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph, Afghan charcoal vendors warm up around a fire amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan resident wearing a face mask walks along an overpass amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan resident wearing a face mask walks along an overpass amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan child suffering from respiratory problems is treated by medical staff at the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital in Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan child suffering from respiratory problems is treated by medical staff at the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital in Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan resident walks along a dirt path amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
In this photograph an Afghan resident walks along a dirt path amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
This photograph shows a general view of residential areas amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. 
WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP
This photograph shows a general view of residential areas amid heavy smog conditions in Afghanistan's capital Kabul. WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP