Smog forces schools shut in Iran

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

Tehran, Iran - Air pol­lu­tion forced schools to close on Sun­day in parts of Iran in­clud­ing Tehran, state me­dia re­ported, as the capital lay un­der a thick cloud of smog.

The pol­lu­tion level in the capital was ‘un­healthy for sen­si­tive groups’ and of­fi­cials warned the young, el­derly and peo­ple with res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses to stay in­doors, with sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties sus­pended.

The de­ci­sion to shut schools in the capital was an­nounced late on Satur­day by deputy gov­er­nor Mo­ham­mad Taghizadeh, af­ter a meet­ing of an emer­gency com­mit­tee on air pol­lu­tion.

“All of (Tehran) prov­ince’s schools ex­cept for Firuzkuh and Da­ma­vand coun­ties are closed for Sun­day,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

Schools in the capital may re­main closed on Mon­day, the third day of the Ira­nian work­ing week, he added.

An ‘odd-even’ traf­fic scheme based on ve­hi­cles’ reg­is­tra­tion num­bers was im­posed to re­strict traf­fic in the capital, IRNA re­ported.

Trucks were banned out­right in Tehran prov­ince.

Taghizadeh added that all ac­tiv­i­ties at Tehran prov­ince's nu­mer­ous sand quar­ries would also be halted.

A grey cloud hung over Tehran on Sun­day, ob­struct­ing the view of the moun­tains over­look­ing the city to the north.

Av­er­age air­borne con­cen­tra­tion of the finest and most haz­ardous par­ti­cles (PM2.5) was at 145 mi­cro­grammes per cu­bic me­tre for the 24 hours un­til Sun­day noon, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment web­site air.tehran.ir.

That is close to six times the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s rec­om­mended max­i­mum of 25 mi­cro­grammes per m3.

Schools were also closed in the north­ern prov­ince of Al­borz and in the cen­tral cities of Qom and Arak, IRNA re­ported.

Air pol­lu­tion was the cause of nearly 30,000 deaths per year in Ira­nian cities, state me­dia re­ported ear­lier this year, cit­ing a health min­istry of­fi­cial.

The prob­lem wors­ens in Tehran dur­ing win­ter, cold air and a lack of wind traps haz­ardous smog over the city for days on end, a phe­nom­e­non known as ther­mal in­ver­sion.

Most of the city's pol­lu­tion is caused by heavy ve­hi­cles, mo­tor­bikes, re­finer­ies and power plants, ac­cord­ing to a World Bank re­port re­leased last year.

(AFP)

A blan­ket of smog cov­ers the city of Tehran as heavy pol­lu­tion hits the Ira­nian capital on Sun­day

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