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In Jalalabad, piles of dirt are left to sit on the sides of roads, after dirt is removed when cleaning the canals

Cleaning of Canals, Dirtying of Roads

Walking down an ordinary street in Jalalabad city, I can see in front of me a pile of dirt lying on the side of the road. This dirt has not been dumped here by people living locally, nor has it been left behind by those working in the shops – it has been left here after the canals were cleaned.

Although, the municipal committee is making a good effort to clean the canals, it seems they are only completing half of their job. When canals and drains are cleaned, all of the dirt clogging them up is pulled out and instead of being taken away, is just left behind to sit on the side of the road. This mess can remain on the road for weeks, sometimes even months, building up even further into a much bigger pile. Not only is this an unpleasant sight to see on the roads, it also has the potential to cause major health and safety issues, spreading diseases unearthed from the dirty canals.

Local people are extremely unhappy about the situation, complaining that the municipal committee is not acting fast enough to clear the roads. Sharifullah, whose shop is located in the street that I visited says, “This is just a nasty situation – the dirt is pulled out from the canals and simply left lying around on the road. It is the responsibility of the municipal committee to fully clear the roads.”

He is adamant that much swifter action needs to be taken to help prevent the build up, “The municipality should remove the dirt as soon as they clean the canals.” Student Javed agreed, “This mess should not be left here on the roads at all – it should be taken away as soon as possible, so that we don’t have such troubles in the future.”

Others are so angry about the situation, that they now do not want the canals cleaned at all, “If the committee cannot take away all of this dirt left behind, then they should not even bother to pull it out of the canals,” Faridoon argued.

Unfortunately, it seems that this situation is not only limited to the one street that I visited in Jalalabad – the same scene can be seen in many other parts of the city and has been so for the last ten years. Official municipal committee members were unavailable to comment and whilst acknowledging that the mess left behind is ultimately their responsibility, others suggest that it may be time for ordinary people to themselves take action. Ahmad Nazari urged others to get involved, “It is our responsibility, as ordinary people living in the area to help keep the roads clean – we all have a part to play.”

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