People found guilty of breaking the environmental laws will now face prison time and in the event of someone dying, they could get the death penalty.
Govt To Enforce Environmental Laws
President Ashraf Ghani has issued a decree on the environmental law, stating any person found guilty of committing major pollution-related crimes can face between 16 and 20 years in prison.
The law also reportedly states that if inspectors fail to enforce the law they can also face imprisonment or a fine of up to 60,000 AFs while an offender, whose actions have led to the death of a person, can get the death penalty.
Members of the public and health experts have welcomed the enforcement of this law and said that the high levels of pollution, especially in Kabul, has resulted in a marked increased in illnesses.
According to the Criminal Act, in relation to environmental crimes, Section 838 states that a person who deliberately disposes of toxic substances and waste, of mercury or other matter harmful to the public health's - especially in wells, water tanks, public storage facilities or other unauthorized sites - can be sentenced to prison.
However, the law states that if such action leads to the death of an innocent person, the guilty party can get the death penalty.
One major issue of contention has been that of the import and use of low-grade fuel in Afghanistan - used by both motorists for vehicles and for heating purposes.
Semin Barakzai, an MP, noted that this sector also needed to be monitored.
Afghanistan's environmental laws are clear and take air pollution, noise pollution, and the condition of water and soil and the preservation of forests into account.
“Offenders will be cautioned and warned and, if they do not pay heed to the warning, they will be finally referred to judicial institutions," said Ghulam Mohammad Malikyar, deputy head of the National Environment Protection Authority.
Pollution and failure to maintain a healthy environment has left countless citizens vulnerable to ill health, especially children.