TEHRAN Heavy pol­lu­tion shuts schools in Iran’s cap­i­tal

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TEHRAN shut schools yes­ter­day as the first of the win­ter’s heavy pol­lu­tion hit the Ira­nian cap­i­tal.

A blan­ket of chok­ing brown-white smog de­scended on the city, block­ing out the view of the moun­tains that line its north­ern edge and lead­ing many of its 14 mil­lion res­i­dents to re­treat in­doors or don face masks in the street.

The level of the dead­li­est PM2.5 par­ti­cles hit 156 yes­ter­day – more than three times the level con­sid­ered safe by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“Kinder­gartens and pri­mary schools are closed on Mon­day in Tehran and most of the cities of the province,” the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced.

Of­fi­cials ex­tended traf­fic re­stric­tions that al­ter­nate cars with odd and even li­cence plates in two cen­tral parts of the city, and de­ployed am­bu­lances to wait in the busiest and dirt­i­est ar­eas.

Tehran mayor Mo­ham­mad Bagher Ghal­ibaf rode the metro to work in a bid to en­cour­age peo­ple to use pub­lic trans­port.

De­spite hav­ing around 100 sta­tions, Mr Ghal­ibaf says the metro is not suf­fi­ciently funded by the cen­tral govern­ment, and Tehran has some of the world’s worst traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Pol­lu­tion has be­come a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball in re­cent years, with con­ser­va­tives and re­formists blam­ing each other for the prob­lem.

Hard­lin­ers reg­u­larly ac­cuse the re­formist vice-pres­i­dent Mas­soumeh Ebtekar, who heads the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion, of not do­ing enough.

The ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive daily Vatane Em­rooz said yes­ter­day that 70 per­cent of deaths in Tehran were linked to pol­lu­tion.

The pol­lu­tion has been build­ing for six con­sec­u­tive days and is ex­pected to con­tinue un­til to­mor­row when fore­cast­ers hope winds will move the stag­nant air. –

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