As trash continues to pile up in Kabul, MPs in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) on Saturday summoned the acting mayor of Kabul and head of the National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA) to answer questions over what lawmakers believe is mismanagement and weak governance by the mayor to keep the capital clean.
MPs accused Kabul municipality of embezzlement and weak governance and said despite major revenue collected by the municipality, the garbage crisis in the city was starting to cause panic among the people.
Kabul has not had garbage removed for a few months now – an issue that residents fear will contribute to outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea, among others.
Deeply annoyed about the problem, some MPs on Saturday called for the dismissal of officials from NEPA and the axing of the acting mayor.
However, the acting mayor, Abdul Ahad Wahid, promised to have all garbage in the city removed within five days.
“The municipality collects major revenue. Where is this money going? Why is it not being used to clean the city?” asked MP Khalil Ahmad Shahidzada.
In his defense, Wahid said two key issues have led to the problem – limited funds and a staff shortage.
“I want to assure you that within five days, all garbage will be removed from the city, expectations must be according to our potentials,” Wahid said.
Meanwhile, NEPA officials told lawmakers that the relevant body was comprised of seventeen government organizations. However, they confessed that NEPA has not done much as yet for the environment but stressed that since their establishment three months ago they have started work.
“Unfortunately, the environment is quite distressing in the capital,” deputy head of NEPA, Abdul Wali Mudaqiq said.
MPs weren’t convinced with reasons cited by officials for the crisis and accused them of weak governance and corruption.
“It is regrettable to say that these individuals do not have good management skills, therefore, they shouldn’t be allowed to continue to hold posts which provide services to the public,” MP Fawzia Kofi said.
“Parliament must grant them two weeks. If they accomplish their tasks, there will not be more issues, if they did nothing, the president must be asked to suspend them from the jobs,” MP Arif Rahmani said.
An estimated four tons of garbage is accumulated in Kabul on a daily basis, but it is believed Kabul municipality currently has the capacity to remove only half that.