Majlis Podcast: The Blackening Skies Of Central Asia

On January 15, the Central Asian Bureau for Analytical Reporting published a report on air pollution in Central Asia.

Inhabitants of large cities in Central Asia already know how bad air quality is becoming where they live.

All the same, the report said the concentration of harmful particles in the air of Kazakhstan’s capital, Nur-Sultan, is 2.5 times the norm. In the last five months, there was only one day when the air quality in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital, Almaty, was not above the norm. A chart showed that, on January 6, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, had the second dirtiest air in the world, behind New Delhi. And the atmosphere in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, was considered “dangerous” 80 percent of time in 2019.

RFE/RL’s media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion that looked at how bad the problem is becoming, what is causing it, and what could possibly reverse the process.

Maria Kolesnikova from the organization Move Green participated in the talk from Bishkek. Also joining from the Kyrgyz capital was Zheenbek Kulenbekov, a professor and coordinator of the environmental management and sustainable development program at the American University of Central Asia. And from Washington D.C., Michael Brody, an adjunct professor of environmental science at the American University and visitor to Central Asia took part in the session.

And, as I noted during the program, I’ve been going out to Central Asia since 1990 and could not help but notice the growing problem of air pollution there. So, I had a few things to say as well.

Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

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