Breath of Fresh Air for Kandahar City

Waste is deposited at a disposal site in Kandahar city
Waste is deposited at a disposal site in Kandahar city
Residents enjoy cleaner streets and fresher air as six municipalities adopt waste management systems with help from USAID
To Mohammad Gul the phrase ‘breath of fresh air’ means exactly that – the chance to breathe lungfuls of clean air. Until recently, Mr Gul and other residents of Kandahar city could not have imagined the improvement in the air they breathe. The streets were so littered with trash, says Mr. Gul, that “…sometimes I could not breathe.” Kandahar’s problems were rooted in the local authorities’ lack of means - or expertise – to reliably collect waste from residential streets and community bins. 
To address the issue, USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipal Program for Urban Populations (RAMP UP) project partnered with six municipalities to improve waste management. Key priorities were to establish disposal sites with appropriate environmental controls and implement primary and secondary waste collection systems to transport waste from homes to disposal sites. The project also raised public awareness of civic rights and responsibilities. The results are extraordinary. Eight districts in Kandahar municipality now have regular secondary waste collection systems. The great clean-up continues with a team of 93 workers, four supervisors, 10 caged trucks, nine crane trucks, five dump trucks, and a bulldozer. And Kandahar’s residents are breathing a sigh of relief.  Mr. Gul says the transformation is striking. “Now the environment is very clean and nice. Every morning the municipality’s trucks come and clean the [trash] from our streets”.

Last updated: January 20, 2015

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