Interview of Mohammad Yonus Nawandish, Mayor of Kabul
Developing countries have the biggest rate of urbanization and urban population in the world with least developed urban infrastructures like roads, city layout, electricity, transportation system, services etc. Transportation and industrial activities, energy used for heating and cooling of buildings are the most noticeable agents of climate change. Applying scientific and technological principles can help reduce the current trend of cities’ energy use and production of carbon dioxide gas.
Afghanistan, as an undeveloped war torn country has a sophisticated situation to apply bioclimatic criteria in construction of the cities and to have and integral urban management. The following proceedings help build eco cities considering the context of Afghanistan:
- Good governance- eradicating corruption, peoples’ involvement in decision making process and application phase, better city services delivery etc.
- Orientation of buildings- orientation of buildings can help lessen use of energy; for example, locating buildings in South-North direction and creating openings in South direction absorbs more sun energy in the Winter and windows in North direction flows the wind into the building and acts as a ventilation and cooling system, both save energy.
- Construction materials- use of native construction materials such as thatch for insulation.
- City master plan- for well-planned layout of the cities, layout master plans of cities should be prepared as soon as possible.
- Institutional works- establishing better coordination between relevant government organizations.
- Transportation system- attention should be paid to establishing a reliable public transit system, city transportation elements such as intersections, road markings, road signs and others needs to be designed and created for smoother flow of traffic and less environmental pollution.
- Service delivery- enhanced system of service delivery like waste management and water supply system should be created.
- Public awareness rising- to change habit of people and increase quality of life- educating people on environment through launching campaigns, involving the elders, teaching children about environment, asking mullahs to aware people about environment with their preaches.
- Introducing alternative sources of energy like solar energy which is widely used across the country these days for their energy use.
Some inhabitants of this country, to some extent, applied bioclimatic principles in their buildings. Widespread use of thatch and bricks, orientation of buildings, mechanisms that used fresh air in the summer were some of those customs.
Afghanistan has started and will further focus on:
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of any intervention before its implementation; endorsed by Afghanistan’s National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA).
- Developing - Laws and rules and regulations in reference to bio climate factors,
- Institutional Capacity Building
- Public Awareness and inter-agency coordination,
- An Integral city management and research for alternative construction materials.