Iranian state media have reported that high air pollution and severely toxic smog have prompted the government to shut down schools and universities in Tehran and other parts of the country.
A committee urgently put together to address issues around air pollution took the decision to shut schools and universities down in Tehran during the late hours of Friday, November 29th.
Iran state news agency IRNA stated: “Due to increased air pollution, kindergartens, preschools and schools, universities and higher education institutes of Tehran province will be closed.”
“Due to increased air pollution, kindergartens, preschools and schools, universities and higher education institutes of Tehran province will be closed.”
The state news agency reported that other measures were put in place to lower pollution, including ways of reducing the total number of vehicles on the road at the same time. Further, trucks and other high polluting industrial vehicles were completely banned in Tehran, both in the capital and the general province.
Rain has been forecasted for Monday, which is expected to dispell some of the toxic smog currently hindering daily life and public health in the Iranian capital.
Tehran has been suffering from high pollution for quite some time and the effects seem to be exacerbated year after year. This is made worse by a naturally occurring effect called ‘thermal inversion’. This involves the trapping of polluted air above the city due to a total lack or very low levels of wind flow, combined with the cold winter air. This essentially creates a type of vacuum which keeps pollution hovering above the city for longer than normally expected.
The world bank’s report on pollution in Tehran states:
“Tehran is one of the most air-polluted cities in the world. Tehran is ranked 12th among 26 megacities (see Figure 1) in terms of ambient PM10 levels. After Cairo, Teh- ran is the most polluted non-Asian megacity. In 2016, the annual ambient level of PM10 was estimated at 77 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter).”